Once you start using WorldCat <www.worldcat.org>, you won’t be able to keep your paws off it. Touted as the world’s largest library network, this mega-catalog lets you claw through 1 billion items — including genealogy-related books, articles, maps and documents — in 10,000 repositories, making it easy to locate a library that has the items you want. Then just request them through inter library loan to use at your own library.
To begin, enter a book title or a keyword and hit the Search button. A search for texas genealogy turns up more than 7,000 items, including Genealogical Records in Texas by Imogene Kinard Kennedy and J. Leon Kennedy (Genealogical Publishing Co.). Get fewer results by using the Advanced Search to query by keyword, title, author, language of item, format (such as article, book or map) and publication date.
Next, click the book title to bring up a screen with tabs for Libraries, Details and Reviews, among others. Enter your ZIP code in the Libraries tab to see if a library near you has the book, and how far away it is. Click the library name to view its online catalog entry for the item. If you use the same browser on your next search, World Cat will remember your ZIP code.
The Details tab tells you the document type (video, book, article) and has a section where you can view and post notes or a table of contents. Under Reviews, read other people’s opinions and ratings of the item (though few materials appear to have reviews yet). If you register — it’s free — you can add your own comments and edit others’ reviews.
To order a book or another item via inter library loan, you’ll have to contact your local library. (For more on interlibrary loan, see the April 2006 Family Tree Magazine.) Or if you want to buy the book new or used online, click the Amazon.com <amazon.com> link to the right. Another slick WorldCat feature is the Bookmark link that saves your search.
No matter what genealogical to me you’re looking fol; it’s nearly certain you’ll find it with WorldCat. Its easy-to-use searching and clean navigation make it a tool you’ll pounce on again and again.