Thursday, February 4, 2010

52 Weeks to Better Genealogy - Week 5 - WorldCat

This week's topic for "52 Weeks to Better Genealogy" is:

Play with WorldCat is a massive network of library content that the public can search for free (user name and password not required). Not every library is a part of WorldCat, but the vast size of the network makes it an important genealogy tool. If you are looking for a specific book or publication, enter the identifying information into the WorldCat search box and see which libraries hold the item. You may even find that you can get the item through your library’s inter-library loan program. Don’t forget to search for some of your more unusual surnames and see what comes up. The goal is to play with WorldCat and examine its possibilities for your own research. If you’re already familiar with WorldCat, play with it again. The network and collection grow and change constantly. If you have a genealogy blog, write about your experiences with searching WorldCat for this exercise.

I have used WorldCat in the past and have loved being able to search multiple library catalogs at once. Not everything is at the Allen County Public Library (no matter how hard I wish) so it is nice to see a larger selection of what is available.

I have done surname searches in the past and found many family histories that I would love to read. For example, I would really like to get a copy of Helen E Arkey's Eck families: a compilation of Eck families primarily listing descendants of Jacob Egg/Eck and Anna Maria Kilcher. It is only available through the Library of Congress and the Mid-Continent Public Library in Independence, Missouri.

I have an account on WorldCat that allows me to add books to a list. I have a list there of books I would like to view when I am in different locations. (Now I just need to find the time to go to all these libraries!) It is a great tool for planning a research trip so that you know where to research and maximize your gains.

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