WorldCat and the Family Tree: A lesson in creative catalog searching. Presentor: Tina Beaird
Searching WorldCat for Newspapers Title: Searches can be conducted by title or keyword (Dziennik Chicagoski) Location: Where was the material published? (Chicago, Illinois) Language: Is it a newspaper published in a foreign language, or was the paper printed for English-speaking nationals? (Polish) Type of Material: Original papers, microfilm/fiche or published monographs? (Serial Publications) Year: Be sure to include a year range, especially when looking for obituary indexes (1900-1930) Item Location: What facilities have the newspapers you are researching? (Center for Research Libraries, Wisconsin Historical Society)
Libraries in Illinois that own the item
Description and catalog information
Requesting Books and Microfilm • When searching WorldCat for genealogical records you must click on the “?” next to the library name under “Libraries Worldwide That Own Item.” This will tell you right away if that particular library will lend genealogical materials. • If you are looking for newspapers, check to see if the library will lend microfilm/fiche. In this case, The Center for Research Libraries will lend newspapers on microfilm. • Wisconsin Historical Society has a massive historic US newspaper collection on microfilm that is available through ILL. • Other libraries that charge a fee for newspapers include the South Dakota State Historical Society and the State Historical Society of Iowa. • University of Chicago (CGU) has a large circulating collection of County Histories and City Directories for the United States.
Does not mention maps or microfilm. Call the library to verify.
Requesting Photocopies and Faxes • Many libraries are happy to make photocopies for patrons for materials that do not circulate. If needed quickly, they are usually very accommodating and can fax requests within a couple of business days. Be advised that photographs DO NOT fax well. • Check with the library for their fee schedule if requesting large numbers of photocopies and be sure your patron would be willing to pay for these. • Many libraries will make photocopies for you for free, depending on the total number of pages requested and the depth of the research. The Newberry Library in Chicago, IL, will copy up to 5 free pages. The Urbana Free Library in Urbana, IL, will copy up to 20 free pages. • Each library’s policy is different. Some libraries charge a flat, non-refundable fee for genealogical look-ups.
Obtaining Materials • Once you have requested materials, be sure to check for any conditions on circulating the item. • Materials are available through the Library of Congress either directly, through their website, or through WorldCat. If you request materials through OCLC, you have to put DCA in all five request spaces. Their materials are available for free, but require in-library use only!
Open Stack Researching • Research libraries and academic libraries require researchers to register for a temporary library pass to access the collections. Be sure to have photo identification with you when you go. • Libraries such as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and the University of Chicago Regenstein Library have open stacks. By using WorldCat in advance of your arrival, you will have the call numbers you need to locate items on the shelf and browse for additional titles of interest. Floor maps are usually available to help locate items. • Larger libraries have multiple locations for useful genealogical materials. Be sure to check for map collections, special collections, and archives. These items may not be included in the library’s computer catalog. • Temporary library passes are not eligible to check out books, so bring plenty of change for photocopies.
Closed Stack Researching • Research/genealogy libraries like the Newberry Library in Chicago and the Library of Congress have closed stacks. You will give your call numbers to the circulation desk and they will pull the books and bring them to your assigned table. • You will not have the opportunity to browse the shelves for similar titles, so be sure to use WorldCat to search for every possible combination of words for the area you are researching. • Some closed stacks do not allow you to make your own photocopies, be sure to allow extra time in case staff are backlogged.
ArchiveGrid • ArchiveGrid gives librarians the opportunity to key word search thousands of archival, museum, and library manuscript collections nationwide. • Multiple word searching and proximity searching yields the best results. • Materials listed on ArchiveGrid are not available through ILL, you would have to visit the owning archives, museum or library in person. • I searched on “Foster,” “Plainfield,” and “California,” receiving numerous hits. These records helped give me approximate birth and death dates of Foster family members to help guide my search.
Conclusion • Newspapers are available from a variety of libraries, most of them for free, through interlibrary loan. • Be sure to check the WorldCat records carefully to avoid wasting time requesting materials that will not circulate. • Libraries can fax requests to you depending on the number of pages and difficulty of the request. • Be sure to check if the library you are visiting is an open or closed stack facility and make plans accordingly. • ArchiveGrid is an extremely useful tool in discovering materials housed in special collections across the country.