Thursday, August 10, 2006

WorldCat now Online at OCLC

The Worldwide Library Catalog, known as WorldCat is now online directly through OCLC (Online Computer Library Center). The direct link to WorldCat is here.

Before this direct link, you had to access WorldCat through a library online database system. This makes it so much easier!

What is WorldCat?
WorldCat is the largest library network in the world. WorldCat libraries are dedicated to providing access to their free resources on the Web, where most people start their search for information.

You can enter key words into the WorldCat search engine. You then get a list of books in the WorldCat system - which indexes libraries all over the world. When you click on one of the books, you can get a list of the libraries that have that book available. If there are too many libraries on the list, you will be asked to select a country, state, province or postal code to limit the search. One problem with the limits is that you can't eliminate it except by getting off the OCLC site and coming back to it.

Using this system, I found out that the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston has a collection of Seaver family papers dating from 1672 to 1944, including deeds, wills, inventories, account books, etc - a real treasure trove of data. While that is not my family line, I will make the effort to visit MHS in the future in order to review this information to help me in my Seaver Family project.

Another entry I found is a book titled "The Frank R. and Blanche E. Seaver Story - "Every Man is a Trustee." This is a book published in 1993 and is located at four university libraries in Southern California. I could either go to those libraries to read it, or see if my local library has InterLibrary Loan (ILL) with one of the libraries and borrow it that way for a small fee.

There is a special web page for genealogy searches here, including a tutorial.

Cool. I love it when free things are made easier to use!

A hat tip to Leland Meitzler at the news site for this one.

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