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Monday, June 7, 2010

WorldCat How-To

If there has been one positive thing about our recent system woes and van delivery changes, it has been the flood of communication from you, our users and supporters. We need to know what you value about the Library and what services you consider absolutely essential. Many of you have left comments here on PlainTalk. We've also received emails, suggestion box comments and even personal visits. All are welcome.

On Saturday, I talked to quite a few of you in our lobby - did you take our green survey for a Trader Joe's chocolate bar? We'll be surveying people again soon, but one comment I received while meeting with patrons was, "You need to explain how WorldCat works!" Good suggestion, so here goes.If you prefer your tutorials in video form, you can watch a short video on how to search WorldCat and request items.

First, a clarification: early in 2009, we did an extensive trial run of a service called WorldCat Local. You told us that you didn't care for WorldCat Local so we did not pursue that option. Plain old "WorldCat" has been around for many years and is freely available to us. It is a worldwide database of libraries and their collections. So, one benefit right off the bat is that you can search nearby libraries that are not in our computer consortium. This includes the Chicago Public Library, Schaumburg Township District Library, Arlington Heights Memorial Library and the Mount Prospect Public Library.

How to search:
  • From our Web site, look for the "Reference" link right under our logo.
  • Mouse over that and you'll see "Research Databases A-Z." Click on that link. 
  • Click on R-Z and then look for WorldCat on the right hand side. Better yet: use this link to WorldCat and then bookmark it for easy access.
  • To use WorldCat outside the library, have your DPPL library card number handy, you'll need to type in the number.

  • The screen you'll encounter is somewhat busy, but the important part is the search area - see the image above.
  • Searching is similar to a library catalog - keyword, author, title are the most frequently used searches and you can combine them.
  • Example: You want the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.Type the words eat pray love in the Title field and Gilbert in the Author field. (For Author, last name is usually sufficient.) 
  • Click the grey Search button and get a list of results. 
  • When you see the item you want, look for this symbol:

    This indicates that we own the item so look for it in our Catalog.
    If you don't see this symbol, click the item's title to continue.
  • You'll get a brief description of the item, a link to a list of libraries that own the item and a link that reads: Borrow this item from another library (Interlibrary Loan). If we don't own it and you want it, you can go to another library and borrow it with your DPPL card or order it through Interlibrary Loan. Use these links to make your choice.
  • If you choose Interlibrary Loan: type in your name, library card number and other required information into the form on that page.
  • The request will be delivered to our Interlibrary Loan department. They will determine the best way to obtain the item for you and will contact you when it arrives for borrowing. 
Confused? Need help? Give us a call at 847-827-5551 or get other contact options, like email and texting.

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