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OCLC Support

Work with search results

Discover how to work with search results in, including sorting, refining, and saving your search results.


Search results are displayed for the items that match your search criteria. To see more information about a specific item, click its title.

This screen also provides utilities that allow you to:

Sort order

WorldCat results are presented in order of relevance to your search terms; relevance is the default sort option. You can change the sorting order using the "Sort by" drop-down list at the top right of your results.

Other sort options

You can choose among these additional sort options:

  • Relevance (ignores library location and mingles group and WorldCat libraries in the result set)
  • Author (A-Z)
  • Title (A-Z)
  • Date (Oldest First)
  • Date (Newest First)

What is relevancy ranking?

Relevance is the result of a ranking scheme that is based on the following:

  • Whether the search terms appear anywhere in the WorldCat bibliographic record.
     Note: Search terms appearing in the title, author, or subject field are ranked highest.
  • Proximity of the search terms to each other.
  • The number of libraries that report owning the item.
  • How recently the item was published.

Editions and formats

Edition information appears in search results and item details.

To access all editions and formats:

  1. Click View all editions and formats. The editions screen appears, listing all editions and formats for the selected item.
  2. Click << Return to Search Results to go back.

 Note: For more information about formats, see Formats.

Refine a search

You can narrow your search results by using the Format and Refine Your Search boxes that appears on the left-hand side of the screen. These filters allow you to narrow your results by:

  • Format
  • Author
  • Year
  • Language
  • Content (content type, such as Fiction, Biography, etc.)
  • Audience (e.g., Juvenile, Non-Juvenile, etc.)
  • Topic (subject matter, such as Music, Philosophy & Religion, etc.)

This information is automatically extracted from each record in your result set, and the first five values are automatically displayed in the box. Click Show more... to see more results.

 Note: If you have more than one specific piece of information to use in your search, you may produce a smaller results set more quickly by using an advanced search.

Refine further

The number of items for each value is listed in parentheses. You can further narrow your results by selecting additional values from a different category in the Format and Refine Your Search boxes. For example, a search for "harry potter" returns 20,038 results. If you:

  1. Select Book in the Format box.
  2. In the Refine Your Search box:
    1. Select J K Rowling for Author.
    2. Select 2002 for Year.

Your results set reduces to 177 books, published in 2002 with J K Rowling shown as the author.
A refined search in

 Note: You can select from a category only once; for example, once you select a specific format (Book), the other formats no longer appear in the box.


Each time you select a value from the Format and Refine Your Search boxes, the resulting search results display adds that value to the Search results for... statement at the top of the screen. Each value (other than the current value) is a link that takes you back to that search level. You can climb back up toward your original result set by clicking on these links at the top of your results (or your browser's Back button).

Search results statement in

 Note: You can select any link at any time. You do not have to backtrack in order.

Save your search results

If you have created a user account, you can save your search, or save items from your result set to an existing list or to a new list that you create at that time.

 Note: You must sign in before you can save. If you are not signed in, the Sign In screen is displayed when you click Save.

Save a search

In some cases, you can save a search from your search results. The search is saved to your My WorldCat profile.

You can also access your saved searches by selecting My Saved Searches from the My WorldCat drop-down menu.

To save a search:

  1. Click Save Search after performing a search. The Save this search dialog box opens.
  2. Enter a name and description for the search in the fields provided.
  3. Select a privacy setting for your search.
    • Public
    • Private
  4. Click Save Search. The dialog box closes, and a confirmation message appears.