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Want to Know Which Libraries Own a Book? Use Google or Yahoo!

by Susan Barnes, Network Resources Coordinator
NN/LN Pacific Northwest Region

When you want to borrow a book, or get a copy of some pages from it, try Google or Yahoo Search . OCLC’s Open WorldCat program makes library holdings information available via these search engines.

For example, if you are looking for Principles of Hand Surgery and Therapy by Thomas Trumble, Shelly M. Sailer, and Mary M. Gilbert (Philadelphia, W.B. Saunders, 2000) you can search for it in either Google or Yahoo Search by title.

Yahoo Search Example
Here’s what it looks like in Yahoo Search:

Yahoo Search users: there is a special Yahoo! toolbar with WorldCat searching at

Google Example
You can do this in Google, too. Let’s say you’re looking for Geriatric Medicine: An Evidence-Based Approach by Christine K. Cassel (New York: Springer, 2003). Here’s what it might look like in Google:

Other Ways to Search
The records in Open WorldCat are abbreviated, so not all MARC fields are available. However, you can search by ISBN, author, and subject heading in addition to title word. Try this:

DOCLINE Library: Is It or Isn’t It?
There are approximately 23,000 libraries participating in Open WorldCat – all of the WorldCat libraries except a few who have chosen to opt out. How can we tell which ones are the DOCLINE libraries? We can’t in Open WorldCat, but we can often recognize the names of DOCLINE libraries in our area. If in doubt, use DOCLINE’s Search feature to learn whether a library participates in DOCLINE and what its lending policies are. Not all DOCLINE libraries will lend their books to other libraries.

Read More about Open WorldCat
OCLC provides details and background at its Open WorldCat program site. One caveat as of winter, 2005: not all WorldCat records have been indexed in Google or Yahoo Search yet. The target for completion is July, 2005 – by that time all WorldCat records should be available via both Google and Yahoo Search.

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