Precision searching. Global visibility.

FirstSearch has been a favorite tool for many librarians and researchers since 1991—its precision searching capabilities and rich data display are valued and appreciated. Based on member feedback, we are currently reviewing functionality and user experience to inform development of a new and expanded WorldCat search experience.   

To receive the latest updates about FirstSearch and other OCLC reference and discovery products via email, sign up for 'Discovery and Reference' notifications under 'Member Offers & Updates'.

For more information about current plans, please review Frequently Asked Questions: Next steps for WorldCat Discovery and FirstSearch.

Search WorldCat, the most comprehensive library database

Did you know a record is added to WorldCat every second? It’s the world's most comprehensive database!

Library users and staff use FirstSearch’s refined search capabilities to navigate WorldCat’s mammoth database of electronic, digital and physical resources to identify materials they need and find out where they are available.

Learn more about WorldCat

WorldCat logo with magnifying glass

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Designed for all users

Users search smarter with an intuitive interface optimized for researchers at all experience levels—seamlessly navigating millions of WorldCat records built from the bibliographic and ownership information of thousands of contributing libraries.

What’s more, users can choose eight interface languages: Arabic, Chinese (traditional and simplified), English, French, Japanese, Korean and Spanish; and they can also search and display WorldCat records in seven non-Latin scripts: Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese and Korean.

Control your search

Help users find exactly what they’re looking for with robust search features, whether it’s available at your library or on a shelf in Japan. Seamlessly connect them to articles, electronic books and journals, digitized special collections and more.

Also, simplify their access to valuable library services, such as virtual chat/reference and ILL requests. (If you have an OCLC Resource Sharing subscription, users can initiate full OCLC resource sharing requests directly in FirstSearch—saving time and money, and improving workflow!)

Keyboard with search icon

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Greater collection visibility

Most people don’t head to the library to begin their research. By contributing to WorldCat, the world’s largest bibliographic database, and subscribing to FirstSearch, you connect users to your library from WorldCat.org™ and more than 50 popular websites, such as Google, Goodreads and Wikipedia.

FirstSearch helps make the most of your collection development investment by featuring local library or group resources in search results. An optional link to local library catalogs lets users confirm availability of the items they need.

Member stories

"[FirstSearch] is excellent in screening out unwanted materials and honing in on just the needed item. No extra fluff. No mess."


Kelly Cannon
Outreach and Scholarly Communication Librarian

Trexler Library, Muhlenberg College

FirstSearch is the most powerful interface for searching WorldCat. Researchers and library staff can find and select resources in thousands of library collections with rich information from WorldCat records. FirstSearch libraries are also more visible on the popular websites where people often begin their research.

Service availability

  • FirstSearch reference service

    Available everywhere