FirstSearch delivers more effective research for users and better workflows and outcomes across all areas of your library, especially in reference, interlibrary loan, collection development, and cataloging. With the features and dependability you need to conduct quick and productive searches—for known items or specific subjects—no matter your experience level, FirstSearch puts you in the driver’s seat.

With FirstSearch, you can:

Construct simple or complex searches to find exactly what you need

Quickly zero in on just what you need with flexible search options. When precision is important, search specific indexes and limit results by date, language, audience, owning library, and more for fast, accurate results.

Learn more about basic searching

Learn more about expert searching

FirstSearch searching interface

Library holdings image

View holdings of other libraries

When something isn’t available in your library’s collections, see which libraries have what you need. Deep links bring you into library catalogs to confirm availability. View holdings of familiar libraries to inform acquisition or weeding decisions.

Learn more about viewing holdings

Enable ILL requests from search results

Let people easily request items not available in your library with links to your customized interlibrary loan request form directly from their search results. The form automatically populates with citation information, so there’s no need to decipher handwriting or to correct the request. Making ILL requests easy saves staff time and helps you deliver the resources your users need.

Learn more about ILL forms

FirstSearch request button

Viewing a full-text article online

Connect users to full text

Help users find the full text available to them by integrating your library’s OpenURL server with FirstSearch. Take advantage of the time and effort you have already invested in configuring your OpenURL server to facilitate linking from citations to e-articles.

Learn more about Open URL links

Get to the right resources fast

Select just what you need from the detailed information displayed in your search results. Results include standard bibliographic information plus additional details, such as physical descriptions and editions or formats.

Fast typing

FirstSearch language options

Search in the language you prefer

FirstSearch supports searching in eight interface languages: Arabic, Chinese (traditional and simplified), English, French, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. You can also search and display WorldCat records in seven non-Latin scripts: Arabic, Chinese, Cyrillic, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, and Korean.


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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