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April 23, 2018

Researching Titanic! World Cat and Interlibrary Loan: Expanding Access Using a Union Catalog

Researching Titanic! World Cat and Interlibrary Loan: Expanding Access Using a Union Catalog

By: Pam Lamberger

Have you ever wondered what to do when we don’t have an item you want at your local library? For example, you’ve exhausted our selections and still want to dig deeper, or perhaps you’re researching a particular topic for a term paper or report. My grandsons are currently obsessed with the sinking of the Titanic so let’s use that topic for the purpose of illustration. After searching our collection and reviewing the many materials we own on the titanic, I want to see what other materials are available out there.

Did you know that you can search a Union Catalog, which shows the holdings of many libraries all across the country – even the world? This catalog is called WorldCat. In order to perform your search, begin on the HEPL homepage at, hamiltoneastpl.org. From the white navigation bar across the top, hover your curser over “Resources” then drop down and select “Online Databases”, scroll down to the green bar that says “Access All Online Databases A-to-Z” and finally scroll down the alphabetical listing to WorldCat. Click on the hyperlinked image and the WorldCat catalog will open. If searching from home, you will need to enter your library card number and four-digit PIN.

You will see three search box options, all of which default to Keyword. You have the option of clicking on the downward arrow next to “keyword” to change the search index to Author, Title, Subject or one of several other search options.

When I enter a keyword search for “titanic sinking” in WorldCat, there are 2,720 results! From within the results page, I’ll click on the tab for books, eliminating alternate formats. This takes the hit-list down to 1,264. That’s still a lot of titles to review so I’ll further limit results to Juvenile for my 6-year-old grandsons, resulting in 304 titles. You can view ten records per page. Once I’ve found a title of interest, I can click on its “Libraries Worldwide” hyperlink to see what libraries own it.

You can also create a personalized list of titles by clicking in the boxes to the left of each one that you wish to save. When finished with your selections, you can save your list by creating a user name and password, then print or export your list.

If you find something you wish to borrow from another library, contact Adult Services at 317-770-3215 or send an email to adultquestions@hamiltoneastpl.org. Make note of the title, author, date of publication and OCLC number if possible. Adult services staff will submit your request to our ILL staff for processing. This free service is only available to resident card holders in good standing (unexpired cards with no bills above $4.99). If you have a reciprocal card from another Hamilton County Library, you are asked to submit your ILL requests through your home library system. An average turn-around time for delivery is 2-3 weeks and the loan period is determined by the lender – usually at least a couple of weeks.