Do you remember using a card catalog in a library? I’m going to reveal my age here, but I not only have used the card catalog in many different libraries but I also helped create and file cards for my local school library. Believe me, it was a CELEBRATION when the card catalog was replaced with an online catalog.
Most of us are familiar with Google, Google Books and Archive.org, but have you ever used WorldCat to track down a source. WorldCat is that online library catalog for much of the world. Since many books are yet to be digitized, it is sometimes necessary to use a library catalog to locate a book. WorldCat simplifies this process since it is a catalog for most of the major libraries with a genealogy collection.
As I’m going thru the citations for my third great grandfather, Nelson Crawford, I found one to the 1877 Atlas of Warren County, Indiana. Since I wasn’t always consistent when I wrote the information required for a citation on a photocopy, I can use WorldCat to check my source information and obtain any missing elements (like place published).
A search of WorldCat for my title produces 182 results. Since I know the copyright date is 1877, I can narrow those results. Along the left side of the screen, there are options to ‘refine’ my search. One of those options allows me to select the year of publication: 1877.
Selecting 1877 narrows the results down to 3 — two maps and 1 book. It is likely that these 3 entries all refer to the same source, but have slightly different cataloging which creates the three different results. When I click on the title, I can open a screen giving the information needed for a citation along with a list of the libraries where the source can be found.
If I go back to the original 182 results, I can also use the ‘refine’ features to see if there are any ebooks. In the ‘Format’ section, there is an option to refine to ‘eBook’.
In this example, the eBook is for a totally different book. Even though I didn’t find a link to an eBook, being able to verify the information for a citation and locate area libraries that might contain the book makes this a valuable tool for my genealogy toolbox.