17 August 2018

Find it in a Library?

Most serious genealogists will have the catalogues of some libraries bookmarked. That will certainly include the local public library and likely local university libraries.

If you research a particular area away from where you live you may find publications of interest in that community's public library. Although there are lists of libraries I find it easier to just search online for the town name and the word library. Thanks to the magic of search that will usually find it even if the library catalogue is held at the county or other administrative level.

On a broader scale OCLC WorldCat connects you to the collections and services of more than 10,000 libraries worldwide. The Ottawa Public Library is listed as an OCLC library, but I'm told any information WorldCat has on their holdings is not up to date. WorldCat list the McGill University Library as third most often selected as a favorite by WorldCat users, and first in Canada.

OCLC now hosts Canada's National Union Catalogue - Voil√†. While the old database AMICUS remains the primary source for Library and Archives Canada’s cataloguing records that's only for a few more weeks — until October 2018.

In the UK Copac exposes rare and unique research material by bringing together the catalogues of over 100 major UK and two Irish libraries. In a single search you can discover the holdings of the UK’s national libraries (the British Library and National Libraries of Scotland and Wales), many University libraries, and specialist research libraries.

For the genealogist there are specialist libraries, perhaps the library of a genealogical society in which you're a member. For the UK don't overlook SoGCat from the Society of Genealogists.

Digitized books are available from several virtual library sources through the catalog search on the Internet Archive, Google Books and Family History Books from the LDS.

Do you have any other library catalog(ue) sources I've overlooked?


Peggy Homans Chapman said...

Perhaps specfic to east coast Canada, I frequently access the New England Historic and Genealogical Society library (americanancestors.org) - it has a huge collection that will provide many resources to search out for eastern Canada families. If the provincial gen society in Canada has an online library database that is available to the public this is also a good resource to seek titles, An example would be the Nova Scotia Genealogical Society (novascotiaancestors.ca). I am always advising people of just what you have described in this post - don't lament because you are not in the geographic area. There are also many bibligraphic collections specific to genealogy of a certain area of group of people - they may not be the latest but when it comes to family history and local history sources, age is not alwats an issue!

Unknown said...

The Quebec Family History Society has an incredible and diverse collection that can be accessed through our online catalogue. https://qfhs.ca/libraryRecords.php Currently, (after our move to our new location in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue), members may borrow books by physically coming in. Frequently, when I am looking for a particular book, I forget to look in our catalogue until last and am often surprised to find the book in our collection.

Penny said...

Hi John, please do make a note of SUNCAT (https://suncat.ac.uk/search) which is COPAC's sister or brother as it were. SUNCAT is an aggregated journal catalogue of UK libraries' collections. While you will find general or trade journals such as Family Tree Magazine or History, there are journals of interest to the genealogist. Some I might suggest are: Journal of Medieval History; Journal of Transport History; Rural Life or the Scottish Record Society series. The possibilities for genealogists are endless. Of course, it is only as relevant or up to date as the library which uploads their content. As well, although I know that the Society of Genealogists have a fabulous journal collection, I don't thinking they are providing their content - as of yet.

Also, both COPAC and SUNCAT will soon be combined into the NBK National Bibliographic Knowledgebase. It is currently in design and beta mode although a few national libraries have provided their content. From what I understand, the first phase is to get the COPAC functionality working first within NBK and then they will bring the SUNCAT data online.