The global research landscape: Resources for locating international publications

Tina Baich

User discovery of international publications is on the rise. Google, WorldCat, and other online discovery tools have increased the likelihood that users will identify these materials, but multiple catalog records and myriad open access repositories make it less likely that users will be able to locate them. One crucial service librarians can offer is to help users go beyond identification to location.

Though WorldCat contains library holdings from around the world, it isn’t always the answer when trying to locate publications outside the United States. The resources described in this article can help librarians verify citations and locate physical holdings and open access copies of international publications. An exhaustive inventory of all online finding aids is, of course, impossible in this space, but those listed represent a core set of general resources, reference services, and search tools that put you well on your way to navigating the global research landscape. Access to all resources described here is free of charge.


  • Karlsruhe Virtual Catalogue. The Karlsruhe Virtual Catalogue KVK allows searching of library and book trade catalogs worldwide, listing more than 500 million titles. You can search 14 different German catalogs, several catalogs each from Austria and Switzerland, as well as other major catalogs in the United States, Australia, and Europe simultaneously. Eight open access resources are also available for search. The Karlsruhe Virtual Catalogue is helpful when you are uncertain in which country a publication might be located. You can click on the links in the results to view the record in the native interface. In addition to telling you where it finds results, the Karlsruhe Virtual Catalogue will also tell you why it didn’t find records in other catalogs. This allows you to know when additional searching is necessary. The catalog is available in German or English. Access:
  • ShareILL is a wiki started and maintained by U.S. interlibrary loan professionals. It gathers resources to assist interlibrary loan practitioners locate materials, manage operations, and maintain awareness of current trends in the field. Among the many sites cataloged on ShareILL are lists of national libraries and archives, union catalogs, and national bibliographies to aid in locating international publications. Access:
  • Wikipedia list of national and state libraries. The University of Queensland (Australia) used to maintain a directory of national library catalogs, but it is now a Wikipedia entry. The list is primarily organized alphabetically by country with nonsovereign states listed separately at the bottom of the page. Many national libraries have a standard practice of collecting their country’s publications, which makes them an excellent resource for verifying and locating items known to have been created in a specific country. Access:

Reference and delivery services

  • East Asian Gateway Service (China). The East Asian Gateway Service is operated by the University of Pittsburgh’s East Asian Library. The service will provide Chinese academic articles to individual researchers and nonprofit institutions, but should only be used when all U.S. options have been exhausted. The site also includes links to the catalogs of the service’s Chinese partner libraries. Access:
  • Slavic Reference Service (Russia and Slavic countries). The Slavic Reference Service is offered by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s Slavic and East European Library. The service will lend materials in the library’s collection or search and obtain materials in other U.S. or Western European libraries. In addition, the Slavic Reference Service answers reference questions related to and corrects citations for materials in Russian and Eastern European languages, including those using the Cyrillic alphabet. Access:

Union catalogs

  • AMICUS (Canada). AMICUS is the national union catalog of Canada with holdings of 1,300 Canadian libraries, including Library and Archives Canada. Within an AMICUS record, copies held by Library and Archives Canada are noted and a link to additional locations, or holders, is provided. Clicking on the locations link takes you to a summary of holdings across Canada. You can readily see which copies are available for ILL and choose a library to research further. The interface is available in French or English. Access:
  • (Denmark). is a searchable database maintained by the Danish Bibliographic Centre. It contains the holdings of Danish public and research libraries as well as records for all Danish publications. You can view which Danish libraries hold an item and from there access that library’s catalog. The interface is available in Danish and English. Access:
  • Catalogue collectif de France (France). Hosted by the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF), the Catalogue collectif de France brings together the BnF catalog, SUDOC (the French union catalog for academic and research libraries), Base Patrimoine (heritage collections), Base Manuscrits (manuscripts catalog), municipal library catalogs, and Rachel (catalog of the European Network of Judaica and Hebraica Libraries). This amounts to a simultaneous search of more than 30 million documents held across France. You can also search for a particular library and access its contact information, hours, information about services, and online catalog. The interface is in French. Access:
  • CiNii (Japan). CiNii, the Scholarly and Academic Information Navigator, is composed of two separate search interfaces, CiNii Books and CiNii Articles. CiNii Books takes its data from the Japanese union catalog system NACSIS-CAT/ILL and searches the holdings of 1,200 Japanese university libraries, which amounts to more than 100 million records. CiNii Articles searches 15 million academic articles published by academic societies or universities, as well as articles from the National Diet Library’s Japanese Periodicals Index Database. The full text of several million of the articles indexed is available free of charge, while the remaining articles are available for a fee. There are Japanese and English interfaces. Access:
  • COPAC (UK). COPAC is a union catalog that includes more than 70 academic, special, and national collections in the United Kingdom. Owning libraries are indicated on the brief results list, allowing you to quickly decide which record works best for you. The brief results page also includes links to the Google Books preview, when available. Access:
  • GBV Union Catalogue (Germany). This union catalog covers the collections of the Common Library Network (GBV) participants, which include the libraries of seven German federal states and the Foundation of Prussian Cultural Heritage. The catalog includes more than 35.6 million records representing the holdings of more than 430 member and associated libraries with close to 86 million item records for books, conference proceedings, periodicals, dissertations, microfilm reels, and electronic resources. In addition to member holdings, the periodical holdings of libraries who participate in the German document delivery system Subito and other German university libraries are searchable. Users can choose between German and English interfaces. Access:
  • Trove (Australia). Trove is the free search portal of the National Library of Australia and contains more than 300 million items from state, territory, public, and university libraries; research repositories; cultural institutions; and industry organizations. In addition to traditional library holdings, Trove also provides access to a number of open access resources, including digitized Australian newspapers, archived Australian Web sites, and the National Library of Australia’s manuscript finding aids. Access:

Digital collections search tools

  • Canadiana Discovery Portal (Canada). The Canadiana Discovery Portal is a service of, a “membership alliance” of public and research libraries across Canada “dedicated to building Canada’s digital preservation infrastructure and providing the broadest possible access to Canadian documentary heritage” ( The site allows users to search across the digital collections of 21 Canadian libraries, museums, and archives. It provides access to digitized materials of various formats related to Canadian history and heritage. The interface can be accessed in French or English. Access:
  • The European Library. The European Library is an aggregator of both digital and physical holdings of 48 European national libraries as well as a number of research libraries and boasts 200 million records to date. Some full-text objects can be accessed directly via The European Library, while others refer you to the owning library’s Web site. In addition to being an excellent resource on its own, The European Library collects digital content from national libraries for the related site, Europeana (see entry below). Access:
  • Europeana. Europeana enables users to search digital collections of cultural heritage materials from thousands of European museums, libraries, archives, and galleries. Records within European a refer users to the owning institution’s site to view full-size images and full-text content. The site also features virtual exhibitions that bring together related collections. The interface is available in 31 languages, including English. Access:

  • Gallica (France). Gallica is the search portal for the digital collections of the Bibliothèque nationale de France (BnF). It also indexes the collections of other institutions that BnF has deemed complementary to its own, including the Library of Congress’ France in America collection. Non-BnF records typically refer users to the owning institution’s site for viewing. Created in 1997, Gallica now provides access to more than two million documents. The interface is available in French, Spanish, Portuguese, German, and English. Access:

Electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs) search tools

  • DART-Europe E-Theses Portal. Libraries and library consortia throughout Europe have partnered to improve access to European theses and dissertations through the DART-Europe E-Theses Portal. The partners also serve as the European Working Group of NDLTD (see entry below). The E-Theses Portal provides a single search of ETDs from more than 500 universities in 27 European countries. Records retrieved via the portal refer searchers to the home institution’s ETD repository. Access:
  • EThOS (UK). EThOS, or the Electronic Theses Online Service, is a project of the British Library to digitize theses from academic institutions throughout the United Kingdom. The digitization effort is ongoing, so not all theses indexed in EThOS have been digitized. Users can request digitization, which takes approximately 30 working days, according to the Web site. Slightly less than 50 percent of the 124 participating universities cover the cost of digitization of their theses in support of open access. The British Library does charge a digitization fee for the others, which is currently £41.43. Once a thesis is digitized, it can be downloaded free of charge. EThOS also offers a toolkit with educational materials related to ETD and ETD repository best practices and EThOS membership requirements. Access:
  • NDLTD Union Catalog. The Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD) offers a variety of resources regarding ETDs for universities, students, and the public. Among these resources is the NDLTD Union Catalog. Member institutions and consortia from around the world contribute metadata to the union catalog creating a resource with more than three million records. There are two search tools available for searching the union catalog, Scirus ETD Search, and VTLS Visualizer. Scirus is a product of Elsevier in which searches can be restricted to ETDs only or expanded to a Web search. A session in the VTLS Visualizer begins with the complete record set, which can then be narrowed through a series of facets or searched using a basic keyword search or the advanced search screen. Access:

  • Theses Canada (Canada). Theses Canada is a service of the Library and Archives Canada. The data indexed comes from Canadian universities participating in the ETD Harvesting Program and ProQuest. More than 60 universities now participate in the program. Years of coverage vary from university to university, but Theses Canada includes ETDs dating as far back as 1950. PDF versions of the ETDs are available directly from the Theses Canada records. Additionally, you can find a list of Canadian University institutional repository and ETD Web sites on the “About Electronic Theses” page of the portal ( The interface is available in French or English. Access:
Copyright © 2013 Tina Baich

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