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Search Help Guide

Tips to Keep in Mind When Starting Your Research Using UMass Amherst WorldCat

Comparing UMass Amherst WorldCat and the Five College Libraries Catalog

Selecting databases

UMass Amherst WorldCat includes the WorldCat.org, Academic Search Premier, Bibliography of Native North Americans and Business Source Premier databases as sources for the simple search. If you would like to select different databases, go to the Advanced Search page, and select "Add/Remove Databases". Here you can choose the databases you want to search. Be sure to "Save Selections" at the bottom of the page.

Note: The fields (e.g. author, title, keyword, source; ISBN, ISSN, subject) you can search, and the limits on your search (e.g. year, audience, content, forma, language) will vary depending on which databases you've selected to search. Limiting your search to WorldCat.org will give you the most options for fields and limits.

Combining search terms

  • WorldCat automatically looks for all the terms you enter in the search box.
  • To search for any of the terms you enter, use OR (uppercase only) between the terms, e.g. Paris OR fashion.
  • To exclude a term, place a minus sign, -, before it, e.g. Paris - fashion.
  • To search for an exact phrase, put quotation marks around it, e.g. "Paris fashion".

Relevancy ranking of search results

The order in which your results appear from a simple search is automatically based on relevancy and proximity of the library which has the item. The factors which contribute to a high relevancy ranking are:

  • whether the search terms appear anywhere in the record. Terms appearing in the title, author or subject fields are given greater weight.
  • proximity of the search terms to each other
  • how widely the item is held by libraries
  • how recently the item was published.
Note: You can change how the results list is sorted in the drop-down menu in the upper right corner. Other options include: relevance only, author, title and date.

Refining your search with facets

On your search results page, you will see a numbered list of citations which match your search terms. In the left column of the page are options for refining your search by: author, format, year, content, audience, language and topic. Choose these links to narrow your search results by your selected criteria.

Viewing all editions and formats

On your search results page, you will see a numbered list of citations which match your search terms. If an item in the list is not unique, but is published in different formats or editions, there will be a link, "View all editions and formats." Select that link to see an expanded list of expressions of that work. The representative record for the work upon which others are attached is selected by how widely the item is included in library collections. Special weight is given to a record if it is for an item in our collections.

Comparing UMass Amherst WorldCat and the Five College Libraries Catalog 

UMass Amherst WorldCat functions differently than our traditional Five College Libraries Catalog and it includes some unique materials. Compare features of the two systems and find search tips:

Can I ... ?

UMass Amherst WorldCat

Five Colleges Catalog

Other Options/Tips

Find materials located at UMass Amherst (UMA) and Five College Libraries (FCL)

Yes - select "View all editions & formats"

Yes

 

Request materials at UMA and FCL

Yes

Yes

 

Find materials at libraries outside UMA and FCL

Yes

No

 

Request materials from libraries outside UMA and FCL

Yes - If you do not have an ILLiad account, register for one before placing your request.

No

 

Find materials on reserve for UMA courses

No

Yes

 

Find journal articles

Yes - note there may be multiple entries for the same article.

No

See our Research Databases for more subject specific sources of articles.

Browse list of items by beginning word(s) in title

No

Yes - "Title search begins with"

WCL Advanced Search allows you to search for materials by words in title, author, keyword, etc.

Browse list of items by subject heading

No

Yes - "Subject heading begins with"

WCL Advanced Search allows you to search for materials by words in title, author, keyword, etc. 

Search and browse by call #

No

Yes

 

Sort results by relevance, author, title and date

Yes

Yes - except not by relevance.

 

Sort results by author, format, year, language, etc.

Yes - see facets in left column of search results page.

No - However, select "Modify Search" at top of search results page to narrow by language, format, year, etc.

 

Change language of search interface to German, Spanish, French, Dutch or Chinese

Yes

No

 

Search using Chinese, Japanese or Korean characters

Yes - searches traditional and simplified characters

Yes - but less flexible than WorldCat


 

Maintain a personal account for personalized lists

Yes

Yes

 

Read and write reviews

Yes

No

 

Mark, save and e-mail citations

Yes

Yes

 

Download citations to management tool (e.g. RefWorks, EndNote)

Yes

No

 

Share lists with other users

Yes

No

UMA Libraries offer RefShare for groups to manage citations.

Remember that UMass Amherst WorldCat and the Five Colleges catalog are starting points for your research. For in-depth research, consult with a librarian and subject research guide.

 

Last Edited: 17 August 2010