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Library Guide for Graduate Research in English Literary Studies: How to Use WorldCat

Welcome to the Library Guide for Research and Bibliography. This guide will be useful for graduate students who are new to the University of Alabama who are unfamiliar with the tools and resources that the University Libraries offers.

What is WorldCat Good For?

First Seach WorldCat logo


Sometimes you are doing research for a project and you need to see what has been published on the topic. Let's say you are thinking about doing research on slave narratives from the Louisiana Purchase territory and you want to see if any scholarship has been published on the topic. You can use WorldCat to identify LC subject headings relevant to your project, as well as locate and identify rare books that might exist on the subject. 


There are occasions when you will find the need to identify trends in publishing or compare editions of a work. WorldCat is an excellent tool for these kinds of tasks because it contains records from over 72,000 libraries.  This can be an especially daunting task, as the definition of "work" and "edition" is not always. 


Sometimes the bibliographic information for an item is incredibly important. Which edition was published first? Did this author publish this specific item before this other item was written or published? We all know how important citations are. You can use WorldCat to help sort everything out.

More Information About WorldCat

Here, you will see documentation created by WorldCat explaining a few different conceptual aspects of the network. Specifically, a guide for searching edition clusters, an explanation of "FRBR," which is the theoretical organization of information.  This might be more information that you need, but sometimes it might help answer questions that you have if you are really trying to do some precise searching. Remember that if you need further help, your librarian is always available to help!

Textual Scholarship