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This is a Help or FAQ page

Please answer LibraryThing related questions here (and on the other Help and FAQ pages). To ASK questions, however, please use Talk.


Overcat is LibraryThing's searchable database of over 32 million high-quality cataloging records. It includes records from over 700 library systems worldwide. The records have been obtained from public archives and from Z39.50 searches done by LibraryThing members.

Overcat Searching Tips

  • Search on a combination of author and title, not just the author or just the title, for best results.
  • The following fields can be searched: author, title, series, publication date, publisher, ISBN.

Why isn't something in Overcat, and what do I do about it?

Since Overcat only includes what people have searched on LibraryThing for, as well as public archives, there will certainly be gaps. So if you can't find a record in Overcat, but then find it from one of the libraries on the addbooks page, the records you find will show up in Overcat within 24-48 hours. So although it's incomplete, it has the ability to get better over time.

We have mostly complete records for the Library of Congress, Washington State, Boston College and Oregon State, because these institutions have made their records available for download and use by anyone.

What are the future plans for Overcat?

  • merging Overcat, Amazon and other sources into one set of results
  • tools for automatically searching other libraries when Overcat returns no results
  • improvements to search results quality

Contributing to Overcat

We are always looking for high-quality records to add to Overcat. If you can help us obtain useful (and OK to use) MARC records, let us know.

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