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HUM 110: Western Culture & Tradition I: How to Use WorldCat

How to Use Worldcat

The Basic Search is the default search for Redeemer's WorldCat homepage

It is a great tool to use when you are just beginning to explore a new topic because it uses keywords to find resources by title, subject, author, abstract,  all at one time.

  1. Enter search terms
  2. Click the Search button
    After you click Search, WorldCat will display your results.
  3. Use the filters on the left-hand side of the page to narrow down your search in a number of categories.
  4. Use the dropdown menu to change the order of your search results by relevance, recency, and library.

Sounds good? But what if you want to conduct a more targeted search (i.e. title, author, etc.)? 

To find out how, let's look at the Advanced Search strategies

If you ever experience problems finding a book try switching from "Redeemer University" to "Libraries Worldwide" under the Library dropdown menu on the left hand side of the WorldCat screen. Many open access e-resources that are available to Redeemer students only show up under Libraries Worldwide and will not be visible if only searching with the "Redeemer University" option. 

The Advanced Search screen can be used to conduct more targeted searches in WorldCat. To retrieve the Advanced Search screen take the following steps:

  1. On the Redeemer Library website ( find the WorldCat Search box click the Advanced Search link
  2. Enter search terms in the search box 
  3. Click on the drop-down menu beside the search box and select your targeted search. The Redeemer WorldCat allows you to search by the following: Accession number, Author, ISBN, ISSN, Journal Source, Keyword, Subject, Title
  4. Scroll down to the lower part of the Advanced Search to find more options you can use to narrow your search: Library, Year of publication, Audience, Content, Format, Language, 
  5. You can also choose to search "Libraries Worldwide" or just limit your search to "Redeemer University".

If you choose not to use any of the limiters, the Redeemer WorldCat will use the basic keyword search (see Basic Search) to locate items in the Redeemer Library collections.

Now that we've explored the Basic Search and the Advanced Search let's take a look at the Command Line Search features. The Command Line Search feature allows you to conduct specific and targeted searches from any one of the Redeemer WorldCat screens.

Click the Command Line Search to find out how.

Command Line searches enable users to conduct very specific and targeted line searches from any one of the Redeemer WorldCat search screens. To conduct a Command Line search you can add an Index Label as a prefix to one of your keywords.

Like the search limits in the Advanced Search screen the Index Label will tell Redeemer's WorldCat where to search for the terms in the record. For instance, if you are looking for C.S. Lewis' book "The Problem of Pain" you can use the following Command Line search for a title (ti:):

ti: problem of pain

You can also combine one or more search term using the Command Line search. For instance if you know the title of the book and the author's name you can use the following Command Line search for the title (ti:) and the author (au:):

ti: problem of pain au: lewis

The following is a list of the most common index labels used by researchers in a Command Line searches:

Index Label   Example   ..... Index Label   Example  
Keyword   kw: kw: Geneva  kw: History   Form/Genre   ge: ge: Biography
Author au: au: John Calvin   ISBN  (for books) isbn: isbn: 9781624660009  
Title ti: ti: Napoleon Bonaparte   ISSN (for journals) issn: issn: 0034-4338
Journal Source so: so: First Things   Publisher pb: pb: Zondervan
Language of Resource   ln: ln: German   Year of Publication      yr: yr: 2012
Subject  su: su: Second World War        


Note: As mentioned on the "Basic Search" tab, if you are still having issues finding a book try switching from "Redeemer University" to "Libraries Worldwide" under the Library dropdown menu on the left hand side of the WorldCat screen. Many open access e-resources that are available to Redeemer students only show up under Libraries Worldwide and will not be visible if only searching with the "Redeemer University" option. 

After you have performed your search, WorldCat contains limiters and sorting options that enable you to narrow your search on the results screen:

  1. Use the "Sort" pull down menu on the left hand side of the screen to sort your results by:
    ​* Relevance (use this if you don't want Redeemer results at the top of the list)
    * Author
    * Title
    * Year of Publication
    * Note that the default is Library and Relevance. This puts Redeemer holdings at the top of your list
  2. Check off one of the boxes in "Format" to limit your results by:
    * Articles
    * Peer-reviewed articles
    * Books
    * eBooks
    * DVD
    * CD
    * Archival material
    * And more depending on your search
  3. Click on the other links in side menu to limit your results by:
    * Author
    * Year
    * Language
    * Content
    * Audience
    * Topic
  4. Click on the Editions and Format>> link beneath a record to retrieve previous editions and different formats of that particular item 

Boolean operators enable researchers to combine one or more search terms in their command line searches. The Redeemer WorldCat search engine utilizes the following boolean operators:



  Symbol  Description and Example
  AND + (plus sign)  
  Retrieves documents with all terms
  Example: "religion + education" searches for documents containing both terms "religion"  
  and "education"
  OR | (pipe sign)    
  Retrieves documents with any single term or all terms
  Example: "teaching | instruction" searches for documents containing either/or and both
  terms "teaching" and "instruction"
  NOT - (minus sign)  

  Retrieves documents with the first term and excludes terms that come after NOT
  Example: "literacy - childhood" searches for documents containing the term "literacy" but
  not the term "childhood"


Researchers can also use the following symbols to represent different alternative characters in their search terms. These symbols are called Wildcards and Truncations:

  Command  Symbol    Description and Example
  Single character         #
  Replaces a single character in a search term
  Example: wom#n = woman or women
  Multiple characters         ?   
  Replaces multiple characters in a search term
  Example: colo?r = color or colour or colonizer
  Truncation       *
  Truncates the search term
  Example: Canad* = Canada or Canadian or Canadiana

Peter Turkstra Library,  Redeemer University , 777 Garner Road East, Ancaster, ON, L9K 1J4, Canada
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