If you work in the humanities, you probably complain three ways to Sunday that WorldCat Local’s default search function includes articles. These articles are often not peer-reviewed, or are often book reviews. Book reviews do have a place in humanities research, but by and large, most humanities researchers turn to their library’s catalogue when they are looking for books and will use scholarly databases when searching for peer-reviewed material and for book reviews. The catalogue connects them to their library’s collection of books. Books are what they want when they use WorldCat. And books are what they’re searching for when they’re using the catalogue.
If WorldCat Local has become your primary catalogue, then get to know the search operator I’ve used below, “dt=“. This operator will limit your search results by document type, i.e, it will limit your WorldCat search results to only books:
If you use this search function to look for Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood in your catalogue, as I did above, then WorldCat Local will limit your results only to books. Articles will not appear in your search results.
The dt= function translates to “document type.” This search function tells WorldCat to limit your results to a particular document type, in this case, “BKS,” which stands in for “books.” To limit to articles, you need to type dt=SER, where “SER” stands in for “Serials”, which is librarian’s jargon for “articles.”
Take this knowledge and share it with your colleagues, students, and friends. Adding this search function to your WorldCat Local searches will improve the search engine’s results for the most basic and essential searches you make in your everyday work in the humanities.