3 Plan your use of FirstSearch

Ask for advice

If your library has one or more FirstSearch individual accounts that are shared with no other libraries, then you make all decisions related to individual accounts. You may find it helpful to ask other FirstSearch libraries how they use FirstSearch to serve their users. Also, your regional network or service center in the USA, your international division or distributor, or OCLC can suggest libraries for you to contact and can advise you on FirstSearch planning issues.

If your library participates in one or more FirstSearch group accounts shared with one or more other libraries (also called consortium accounts), then you will have to make many decisions about your use of group accounts. Ask the group coordinator for information about any group decisions regarding the account.

Integrate FirstSearch with your library's services

Consider the following suggestions for integrating FirstSearch with your library services (some suggestions may not apply to your library):

Add more information to FirstSearch about your library's collection by expanding the types of materials you catalog through OCLC cataloging services. This adds your library's holdings information for those materials to WorldCat and other FirstSearch databases. While viewing search results, users easily see which items your library owns. This lets them use your collection more effectively. By clicking a link in a FirstSearch citation, users can go directly to your catalog's record for the cited item. For more information, see Link your library, FirstSearch, and other web resources.

Consider the full text in FirstSearch databases as part of your library's collection. This full text may include journal articles, book reviews, encyclopedia entries, reports, statistics, directory information, etc. Users can search your FirstSearch databases and easily view the full text they find. For more information, see Control access to full text.

Add relevant links to your library's Web pages:

  • From pages describing your library's journal collection, add links to individual journals in the FirstSearch Electronic Collections Online (ECO) database 
  • From pages listing your library's electronic databases, add links to individual FirstSearch databases (see OCLC FirstSearch Service Databases in Brief)
  • From pages listing your library's resources, add links to the FirstSearch database selection screen for a particular topic area
  • From pages listing your library's electronic services, add links to the FirstSearch home page

Add your library's logo to FirstSearch screens to identify FirstSearch as one of your library's resources. You can add your logo using the administrative module or using automatic logon. For more information, see Link your library, FirstSearch, and other web resources.

Encourage your users to submit interlibrary loan requests while using FirstSearch if your library uses WorldCat Resource Sharing. Requests submitted through FirstSearch contain complete bibliographic citations and the user information you require. You decide whether FirstSearch sends the requests to your library's Review File in WorldCat Resource Sharing or to the OCLC ILL Direct Request™ service. For information about customizing interlibrary loan requests, see Link your library, FirstSearch, and other web resources.

Access FirstSearch through your library's Z39.50-compatible local system so users can search FirstSearch databases using your local system's procedures and commands. For more information, see Using a Z39.50-compatible local system.

Customize FirstSearch to meet your users' needs

Consider the following suggestions for customizing FirstSearch to meet your users' needs (some suggestions may not apply to your library):

Create your own custom database topic areas using the administrative module so your users see topic areas in FirstSearch like the topic areas they see elsewhere in your library. For more information, see Link your library, FirstSearch, and other web resources.

Select the appropriate default search screen (basic, advanced, or expert) to fit the searching method of most of your users. For more information, see Link your library, FirstSearch, and other web resources.

Let your users include up to three databases in a single search so they can find information in multiple databases. For more information, see Link your library, FirstSearch, and other web resources.

Let your users view holdings information for other libraries to help them locate needed materials. You can specify the category of libraries for which holdings information is available, and you can let users view all available holdings information. Or, you can turn off the display of holdings information. (Some holdings information views are turned off in each new FirstSearch account.) For more information, see Link your library, FirstSearch, and other web resources.

Add links on your library's Web pages to translations (Spanish, French, traditional or simplified Chinese, or Japanese) of the FirstSearch user and administrator interfaces. The user interface is also available in Korean. Online help is not available in all languages. For more information, see Automatic logon.

Control FirstSearch costs for your library

Consider the following suggestions for controlling FirstSearch costs for your library (some suggestions may not apply to your library):

Turn off access to any per-search databases you do not want to provide to users through FirstSearch. For more information, see Link your library, FirstSearch, and other web resources.

Choose full-text access only for those journals needed in your collection.

  • You can subscribe to individual journals in the FirstSearch Electronic Collections Online database. For more information, see Administer your FirstSearch account.
  • In FirstSearch databases, you can turn off access to the full text of individual journals that you do not want to provide.

Require a password for viewing full text from some databases to control which users can view the full text. For more information, see Link your library, FirstSearch, and other web resources.

Turn off ILL access in individual databases. Add notes to the ILL Request form to inform users of any interlibrary loan fees. For more information, see Link your library, FirstSearch, and other web resources.