Searching Macalester Worldcat (MacReads)

Open in another browser window to work through this tutorial side by side.


In this tutorial you will use Macalester Worldcat to find out whether Mac owns a copy of Hope Against Hope, what other libraries own a copy, and if there are reviews of the book you might look at.

Use the arrows below to navigate sequentially through the tutorial or use the Contents button above to skip between sections.

Macalester Worldcat

1 of 3

Macalester Worldcat is a database that shows you the collections of libraries around the world, including books, ebooks, DVDs, government documents, journals, sound recordings, archival collections and much more. It also contains articles (some fulltext) from a variety of sources.

The search box for Worldcat is the first thing you see on the DeWitt Wallace Library web site. You can search in a variety of ways: use keywords, titles, authors, etc. Go ahead and type: hope against hope into the search box to your right and press the return/enter key to search.

Search box for Worldcat


Macalester Worldcat

2 of 3

You should see a list of over 80,000 items that match your search terms. Books or articles at Macalester will show up first in the list. Scroll down a little and note that on the left side of the screen you can see all the different formats for the items you've found.

Format list from Worldcat

Macalester Worldcat

3 of 3

You can choose "Book" to filter your search results so you only see books. Rather than doing that, we are going to modify our search by adding the author's last name, Carr,  to the search box at the top of the screen.

Modified search

Book Record

You should see Mac's edition of Hope Against Hope at the top of the search result list. Click on the title, which takes you to more details about the item. Note that you can "Preview" the content of the book through Google Preview, and that there are subject headings on the right side of the screen. These subject headings, if clicked on, will lead you to more books on the same topics.

Subject heading screenshot

Locating Books in the Library

Scroll further down and you will see the availability of this book at Macalester.

Item availability at Mac

The "call number" for Hope Against Hope at Mac is LC4093 .N49 C37 2014. And it is in a location called "Mac Reading Room". The Reading Room is a separate collection of books on the main floor of the library that are current popular titles. When a book isn't in the Reading Room, it is placed with the other books on book shelves on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th floors of the Library.

The call number tells you where, exactly, a book is located amongst all the other books. Call numbers begin with 1 or 2 letters, and the books are in alpha-numeric order. So, you would find the books with an L call number all together. To find this book, go to the Reading Room, find the L section, then within the L section find LC. Within the section with LC call numbers, find 4093. If there are a lot of books with the call number LC4093, you would look for the .N books next, followed by 49. Each call number is unique.

If you ever have difficulty locating a particular book, please ask for help at the service desk.

Finding Books at Other Libraries

With the record for Hope Against Hope still on the screen, scroll down below the Mac location to see what other libraries own the book. Click on the plus sign next to "Worldwide Libraries".

Worldwide Libraries List

Notice that the libraries nearest to Macalester are listed first. You can change the zip code (within the US), or type in a country name (in English) to find if any libraries located near you own the book.

If Hope Against Hope was checked out at Macalester, you would see a button on the screen that would allow you to order the book to be brought to Mac from another library.

Interlibrary loan button

We do thousands of interlibrary loans--don't hesitate to ask for what you need!

Other Useful Information About the Book

Scroll a little further down in the record for Hope Against Hope and you will find other information about it, such as a table of contents list.

Table of Contents from Hope Against Hope

Scroll back to the to of the book record and click on Return to Search Results.

Return to Search Results

Articles in Worldcat

1 of 2

There are many articles included in Worldcat from both popular and scholarly journals. Use the Format area to filter your search results to only articles.

Article Filter on Search Results

Articles in Worldcat

2 of 2Scroll through the list, clicking on any that look interesting. Note that most of these articles are book reviews, including scholarly appraisals of the book. If you see a View Now link

View Now Link

Or "View Full Text", you can click on the links to see the full article. This option is only available for articles owned by Macalester. You will be asked to authenticate with your Macalester Username and Password in order to actually view the article. (On campus, you will not be asked to authenticate.)


You have seen how to search for a book title within Macalester Worldcat, how to modify that search, and how to find out where that book is located at Mac or at another library.You have seen how to filter your search results to books only or to articles, and that some articles are available fulltext.

There is much more to learn about Worldcat. You are welcome to search on your own through the Macalester Library Web site. Try some keyword searches to find books and articles on a topic of your choice. If you have any questions, feel free to AskUs at the Library.

 Return to the MacReads Moodle Course (Will open a new window.)