Getting Started with the OCLC FirstSearch Service

The information in this quick reference can help you customize FirstSearch to make it work best for your library and its users. All you need to get started right away is your OCLC FirstSearch™ authorization and password, which were provided in your welcome letter. Go to <  http://firstsearch.oclc.org  > to logon.

Keeping up-to-date

The following Internet lists provide important news and information about the FirstSearch service:

  • FirstSearch-L
  • Z39.50FS-L

You and your users can subscribe to these lists by using the form on the OCLC Internet List Subscription Request page.

Or, to subscribe via e-mail, send the following message to listserv@oclc.org:

subscribename of listserv > <  your first name > <  your last name >

Customizing FirstSearch

Use the administrative module to customize FirstSearch to meet the needs of your users and staff. Logon to the administrative module with your FirstSearch authorization and administrative password at:

http://firstsearch.oclc.org/admin  >

Use the temporary FirstSearch password included in your FirstSearch welcome letter to logon to the administrative module for the first time.

The administrative module lets you customize:

  • Searching and library holdings
  • Databases and full-text access
  • Interlibrary loan
  • Passwords and timeouts
  • Links to other information services

The WorldCat Services Administrative Module Reference Guide gives details about FirstSearch customization options.

Database and full-text access

  1. Turn access to individual databases and full text on and off using the Database Access section under the Authentication/Access tab in your WorldCat Services Administrative Module. You can also let your users view, e-mail and print full-text articles.

    Set a full-text password in the administrative module to restrict full-text access to certain users.

  2. In the user interface, a full-text icon full-text icon in the brief and full record in the brief and full record displays indicates the availability of full text.
  3. Turn on links to other full-text resources such as JSTOR, Infotrieve and NetLibrary® using the Outbound Linking section under the Linking tab in your WorldCat Services Administrative Module.

Interlibrary loan access

The FirstSearch-ILL link lets you request library materials found in FirstSearch databases. Customize this link using the following administrative module options:

  • ILL access--Turn ILL access on or off. You can also customize the text for the link to the ILL Request Form.

    Control the databases in which users can submit ILL requests and the method used to process the requests for each database.
  • WorldCat® ILL access--Suppress access to ILL requests for document types (such as archival materials) that are seldom loaned.
  • ILL request form--Customize the FirstSearch ILL Request Form for your users.
  • Display Library Holdings--Specify whether users can view holdings information for libraries other than yours. You can also turn on a Display All Libraries link to allow your users to view a list of all libraries that hold an item.

Add your library's logo to your interface

Add your library's logo to the user interface using the administrative module, or IP address recognition, or Webscript automatic logon scripting. You can also add custom Web links to the FirstSearch user interface. For example, you could include links to your library's Web site or to the Ask-a-Librarian service. For more information, see  Adding Your Library's Logo to FirstSearch .

Link to your library's catalog

You can add a link from FirstSearch to either your library's Web catalog or your library's Z39.50-accessible catalog to let your users view detailed local holdings information. Instructions for setting up this link are in online help within the administrative module and also in the WorldCat Services Administrative Module Reference Guide .

Searching FirstSearch

FirstSearch offers a variety of search modes to fit every user, from Basic to Expert:

  • Set the default search mode to Basic, Advanced or Expert to best suit your users' needs. Basic offers the simplest and quickest options while Advanced lets users structure a more precise search. Expert is a command line mode designed for experienced searchers.
  • Create Custom Topics to help your users locate the best databases for their needs.
  • Combine WorldCat and up to 2 other databases into a virtual database so patrons can search them all at one time.

Promoting FirstSearch

FirstSearch promotional toolkit

This kit includes several items to help you inform your users about FirstSearch. You can use the materials as provided or edit them as needed. These materials can be downloaded and customized on the Promoting FirstSearch  page.

  • Update the sample press releases with your library's own information to quickly let your users and community know about FirstSearch.
  • Print copies of the FirstSearch poster to display in your library or computer lab.
  • Use the table tents, bookmarks and brochures to remind your patrons about the FirstSearch service.

Getting the word out

You can use various methods to help your users learn to use FirstSearch. Some suggestions are:

Monitoring FirstSearch usage

Monitor customized database usage and availability statistics at:

http://www.stats.oclc.org  >

Log on by entering your FirstSearch authorization and administrative or statistics password.

For more information

The OCLC® Web site provides a wealth of online information about FirstSearch, including an overview of the service, links to complete documentation, ordering information and more.

Information on the Electronic Collections Online™ database includes lists of participating publishers and available journal titles.

For more information about FirstSearch, contact OCLC .