WorldCat's search page can be a little overwhelming at first glance. Here are brief descriptions of each search option.
Search in database: Ignore this field; you will want to search WorldCat, which is the default option
Search for: Enter your keyword(s) into these three boxes. The second boxes are set to "Keyword" as a default but may be changed to search things like Title, Author, and Subject. Unless you are looking for a specific source, leave the boxes set to Keyword.
Limit to: Use these options to further limit your search results. If your professor requires you to use recently published books, enter a year range (e.g. 2005-2015) into the year box. If your search results contain many results in a different language, you may want to set the Language limitor to English. The last option, "Number of Libraries," may be used to weed out rare materials and probably will not be relevant to your search.
Limit type to: This section lists all of the material types that you may search for in WorldCat. Select the material types that are most relevant to your needs (e.g. Books and Articles only)
Subtype limits: These dropdown lists allow you to limit your results according to Audience type, Content type, and Format type. The Audience box has two options: Juvenile (that is, materials for children/young adults) and not Juvenile (materials for adults). The Content box has multiple options, but it is likely that only the "not Fiction" option will be useful to you, as it will limit your results to non-fiction, scholarly works.
The Format box allows you to narrow results to a specific type of book or A/V material-- for example, only large print books-- and probably will not be relevant to your search.
Limit availability to: This section allows you limit your results to a specific library. If you are using WorldCat from a campus computer, you will be able to select a box to limit items to Caldwell's collection. You may also search the catalogs of other libraries that may be closer to you.
Rank by: This option allows you to decide upon the order in which your search resulst will be displayed. You may select from Number of Libraries (this means that results will be ranked according to how many libraries own the material, which may reflect on the relevancy or importance of the sources); Relevance (based upon the number of times your keywords appear in a source's catalog entry); Date (ranks sources according to their publication date, with more recent sources appearing first); and Accession Number, which is an option that will not be relevant to you.
Try to come up with 1 to 3 words that succinctly describe your research question or topic. WorldCat is not like Google; do not use full sentences or long phrases. Consider possible synonyms that you could use to refine your search results.
I am interested in learning more about the Five Pillars of Islam.
Keywords I might use: "Islam" and "Five Pillars" or "Five Pillars of Islam"
I would like to find books on the use of prayer in the major world religions.
Keywords I might use: "prayer" and "world religions" or "prayer" and "comparative studies"
Search Results Page
If you are using a campus computer, you may see what items Caldwell owns in the search results page. These items will have "Caldwell College" in green beneath their titles.
If your results page has too many or too few results, consider using more of the search options described in the leftmost box or rethink your keywords.
Selecting an item will take you to a page with more information on the source. You may view an abstract of the item, section or chapter headings, and subject headings.
Pay close attention to the subject headings, as these may help you refine your keywords. Think of subject headings like tags; selecting a subject heading will bring up a list of other materials that have been given the same heading. This should help you locate more books on your topic.
Locating or Requesting an Item
To view the items call number (its location in the library), select the "Search the catalog at your library" link towards the top of the page (under the "Get This Item" section). This will take you to the CALCAT record, which will provide the call number or a link, if the item is an electronic book.
If the library does not own a copy of the book, you may request a copy through inter-library loan (ILL). WorldCat has a direct link to Jennings ILL, our inter-library loan system. Selecting the "Request this item in Jennings ILL" link will take you to Jennings ILL, where you will sign in with your NetID and password. The request form will automatically be filled out with the item's information; just select "Submit Request" at the bottom of the page. You will receive a notification when the item is available. For more information on ILL, please see the Jennings ILL guide.