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FirstSearch®

You drive. FirstSearch delivers.

FirstSearch is a proven and highly trusted tool that empowers anyone to find the authoritative content they need in every format from worldwide library collections. FirstSearch delivers the precise, full-featured WorldCat searching that library staff and researchers value. 


Get a comprehensive view of library collections

Increase awareness of all library collections with a powerful lens on the world’s largest library catalog, WorldCat. FirstSearch navigates through WorldCat’s 427 million bibliographic records in seconds, connecting searchers to exactly what they need. It’s a direct link to the authoritative content that informs collection development decisions, solves reference questions, and meets interlibrary loan demands.

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WorldCat in the library

Keyboard with search key

Search with precision

Make it easy for all users to direct the search process to get exactly what they need. FirstSearch puts people in control with targeted, user-constructed searches. Extend your local collections by integrating items from other libraries across town or around the world. Detailed bibliographic information in search results makes it easy to choose just the right resource. Regardless of your specific need or experience level, you’re in the driver’s seat.


Make your collections visible on the web

A FirstSearch subscription works with your OCLC cataloging subscription to make your collections visible in places where people start their research. The more than 80% of people who, according to studies, begin their research in major search engines, campus management portals, or other popular websites can continue their journey via convenient links to your library, thanks to OCLC’s extensive partner relationships. As few as two clicks bring searchers from search engines and other websites to your library’s holdings. Embedding your library into people’s lives improves awareness of your services, changes their research habits, and builds lifelong connections.

Viewing resources online

Researcher searching for resources

Trust in a service with a strong track record

With dependable performance and well-designed functionality that’s built to last, FirstSearch remains highly trusted by experts. The same features that made it a favorite tool years ago drive its loyal following today. FirstSearch stands on a solid foundation and comes standard with the options you need to control your search experience. Not all technology can perform confidently as holdings grow, formats change, and needs evolve. But FirstSearch has stood the test of time and remains reliable, valuable, and valued.


Member stories

Image of reference desk at Cary Memorial Library

Locate and request exactly what you need from near or far

Discover how the Massachusetts Library System efficiently finds and delivers the right items to library users across the state.

UC Davis library staff helping student

Find precisely what you’re looking for without distraction

See how the University of California, Davis empowers researchers with quick and efficient access to the resources they need worldwide.

“I use WorldCat on FirstSearch 10–15 times a day at least, sometimes more. I couldn't do my job without WorldCat on FirstSearch. The breadth of collections is unparalleled.”

Tommy Nixon
MLIS Subject Librarian for Classics, Dramatic Art, & English/Comparative Literature
Davis Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States

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

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