Searching & Sending Requests: Searching OCLC

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The OCLC form is a direct link between ILLiad and the OCLC system. All interaction with OCLC can take place directly through ILLiad.

To access the OCLC form, click the OCLC Tab from the request form. This will open the OCLC Searching tab and the OCLC ribbon. The Detail, History, and other tabs available on the Request form are still visible and accessible. You can return to the Request form anytime to add notes or to edit it as needed. In addition, the following forms are now available via tabs underneath the OCLC tab on the Request form:

  • Searching
  • Record Detail
  • Holdings
  • Work Form


Upon opening the ILLiad request form, the system performs an automatic background search of OCLC for the selected transaction, and the results will display automatically when you click on the OCLC tab. This background search looks for the following information in the following order, provided it exists in the ILLiad transaction record:

  • OCLC Number
  • Keyword

The first of those fields with a value in it determines the search that is actually performed by the system.

The Type field will automatically limit the format searched to Books for loans and Serial Publications for articles. If you don't want ILLiad to limit the background searches by format, you can do this by setting the OCLCILLAutoLimitType key to No in the ILLiad Customization Manager. This key can be found under System | OCLC.

The order of these searches is determined by the OCLCILLAutoBackgroundSearchOrderArticle and OCLCILLAutoBackgroundSearchOrderLoan customization keys. The values are OCLC,ISSN,Keyword for articles and OCLC,ISBN,Keyword for loans by default.

Default OCLC Search

The search fields on the OCLC form will be automatically populated with information from the ILLiad request. ILLiad looks at the request information and the available OCLC searches, and will identify the OCLC search that will be most likely to succeed. The suggested search option will be highlighted in yellow. This is based on the amount and type of searchable information available in the transaction record.

There are five automated default search types:

OCLC Number This will search OCLC for the OCLC Number of the item being requested. (Ctrl+O)

This will search OCLC for the ISSN or ISBN of the item being requested. (Ctrl+H)

Derived Title

This will search OCLC for the title of the item being requested using the 3,2,2,1 pattern (first 3 letters of the first word in the title, first two letters in the second word, first two letters in the third word, first letter in the fourth word). (Ctrl+D)

Keyword This will search OCLC for various keywords associated with the item being requested. (Ctrl+K)
Scan Title

This will search OCLC for the title of the item being requested. (Ctrl+T)

  1. From the ILLiad request, click the OCLC Tab to open the OCLC search form.
  2. A search will be automatically performed, and the suggested search option will be highlighted in yellow.
  3. To perform a specific search (ISBN, Keyword, etc.), click the Search icon to the right of the search.
  4. You can also change words or information in the search boxes before clicking the Search icon.
  5. To limit your search, use the Type, Sub Type, and Other dropdowns and select the limits you want to apply.

Limiting the Search


This limits the type of publications you want to search. If you want to alter the Type limits for your search, you may check/uncheck the appropriate checkboxes for the format type(s) that you want to be returned. You also have the option of selecting all Type limits or clearing all limits if you want to do so. If no Type limits are set, all types will be returned by the search. The possible types are:

  • Books
  • Serial Publications
  • Computer Files
  • Internet Resources
  • Visual Materials
  • Sound Recordings
  • Archival Materials
  • Articles
  • Musical Scores
  • Maps

Sub Type

This limits the search by Audience, Content, and/or Format. The Sub Type can be set to ALL, otherwise, only one choice in each of the three sections may be selected.

Audience This drop-down allows you to specify your audience as Juvenile or not Juvenile. The default value for this dropdown is Any Audience.
Content Content - This drop-down allows you to select the content, such as Fiction, Biography, Thesis/Dissertation, etc. The default value for this dropdown is Any Content.
Format Format - This drop-down allows you to specify the format, such as Large print, Microform, CD Audio, etc. The default value for this dropdown is Any Format.


The Other section allows you to limit your search results by Year, Language and/or Number of Libraries.

Year (YYYY-YYYY) This field allows you to limit the results to a year date range. To do so, enter a single year or a date range, in a YYYY-YYYY format, into the Year field. Both dates are inclusive for the purposes of the search.
Language This drop-down allows you to specify the language. The default value for this dropdown is All.
Number of Libraries This drop-down allows you to specify the fewest number of holdings required before a record will display in your search results. The default value for this dropdown is All.

Custom OCLC Search

The Custom Search field on the OCLC Search ribbon allows you to add an unlimited number of search values. To perform a custom search:

  1. Click the ellipsis (...) to the right of the Custom search field.
  2. Click the + to add a condition to the search.
  3. Select the conditions of your search.
  4. To perform the custom search, click Apply, then click the Search icon next to the Custom field.
  5. The returned results will display in the OCLC Searching grid, and will show the first 25 results.
  6. To display more results, click the More button on the bottom right.

Search Results

Most searches will display the search results in descending order by the number of holdings although you may reorder them by the column heading values by clicking the heading. Information in the search results grid includes the following:

Record Number The record number of each result. These numbers are assigned by the system during the search
process and are unique to each search results set.
Main Entry The author(s) or editor(s) of a work, although depending on the information in the OCLC record,
other information may sometimes display here.
Title The title of the work.
Format The format of a work.
OCLC Number The OCLC Number assigned to a work in the OCLC system.
Standard Number The Standard Number assigned to a work in the OCLC system.
Year The publishing year of a work.
Publisher The publisher of a work.
Owned Whether or not your library owns the item. If the item is owned by your library (based on OCLC
holdings information), the checkbox will be checked. Otherwise, it will be empty.
Holdings The number of institutions that OCLC has determined own the work.
L A one-character code identifying a designated library or program.

The L column will display a one-character code identifying a designated library or program: D - Library of Congress (LC), P - Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), M - National Library of Medicine (NLM), G - U. S. Government Printing Office, A - National Agricultural Library, U - British Library, C - National Library of Canada, T - National Central Library of Taiwan.

If a designated library creates a record, the system displays one letter in the list above. If two or more designated libraries or PCC participants create a record or if a record contains a 042 field with a PCC code, the system displays only the first letter that appears in the hierarchy of the list above.

Viewing Record Details

To view the record details for any given record returned in your search results, you must select the record. This may be done either of two ways:

  1. Click the record and open the Record Detail tab.
  2. Double click the record.

For Scan Title searches, there is an additional step necessary to view results. Scan Title search results display the Title and number of records found. Selecting a specific result record from the list by double-clicking it will select that record and perform a second search to display it in the more typical result format discussed above.

While the initial Scan Title search did not do so, this second search WILL consider format/type restrictions when displaying the search results if any are specified. Therefore, it is possible to return more records in the Scan Title results than actually display in the second results set once a specific record is selected.

  1. WorldCat Citation: The upper left pane displays the WorldCat citation. You can easily select information here and right-click to copy it to paste to other locations.
  2. ILLiad Citation: The upper right pane displays relevant citation information from the transaction record in ILLiad. This citation includes any notes, displayed in reverse chronological order, that may be attached to the transaction record in the ILLiad client.

  3. General OCLC Holdings and Fixed Fields: The middle section displays any general OCLC holdings information as well as the various Fixed Fields and their associated values for the selected record. The OCLC number text label is a read-only text box to facilitate copying, if necessary. If the selected OCLC Record is held by the Borrowing institution, the text HELD BY XYZ, where XYZ is the OCLC symbol of the Borrowing institution, will be preceded by an asterisk and will display in red. Hovering your mouse over any field or value in this section will display a brief explanation of the Fixed Field term.

  4. MARC Record: OCLC's MARC record information for the selected record displays at the bottom of the form.

Selecting a Record to Request

Select the record you wish to request using whatever criteria your institution currently uses to make this determination. To view Holdings information for individual records before selecting a specific record to request, you may do so by clicking the Holdings tab. To return to the search results to choose another record, simply click the Searching tab on the Request form. 

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