To search HOLLIS for books held at Houghton, choose the Advanced Search option, and limit your search to Location = Houghton. There are numerous options to choose in the drop-down menu. For example, you can search for Keywords anywhere or more specifically in Author, Title, or Subject fields. Note that you can also limit your search by date range and language.  (Date range searching in HOLLIS+ is currently imprecise prior to 1950. Use HOLLIS Classic if you wish to search a specific date range.) Once you have found the record of an item, subject links can lead you to other items in the same subject area.  You can also click on the name of the author or the title, or click on the Virtual Browse tab to call up other pertinent records.

Once you find a record of an item you are interested in consulting, click on the Locations and Availability tab  to make sure it is at Houghton. If the Location indicates that the item is held at the Harvard Depository, an off-site storage facility, we need to receive your request one working-day before you require the material. For more details on how many volumes, issues, or copies of the same edition are held by Houghton, consult the holdings information on the Locations and Availability tab.   

To request an item, simply click on the Request item link, and it will bring you to the Special Collections Request Account.  After you sign in with your log-in and password, the system will create a prepopulated request for you.  If the material that you are requesting is at Houghton, just click Submit at the bottom of the page. If the item is located at the Harvard Depository, please supply the date that you will be at Houghton to review the material and then click Submit. 


Searching HOLLIS Records for thousands of single manuscript items, as well as collection-level (summary) descriptions of Houghton manuscripts can be found in HOLLIS. For example, HOLLIS includes a a 15th century manuscript history of Rome, as well as a summary description of the Henry James letters. To search for manuscripts in HOLLIS, choose the Advanced Search option, limit the search to Location = Houghton (or Harvard Theatre Collection, or Theodore Roosevelt Collection). Choose Material Type = Archives/Manuscripts. If you are searching for materials related to a specific person, searching for words Keywords anywhere rather than in Author/Creator is a good way to find material by and related to that person. 

Searching OASIS
Houghton's finding aids— detailed listings of the contents of manuscript collections—appear in OASIS (Online Archival Search Information System).

To see a list of Houghton finding aids currently available in OASIS, click on the Browse Finding Aids tab, Limit by Repository = Houghton, and click GO. Browsing is one good way to search for collections of well-known authors and others since there can be many finding aids associated with a person or family. To browse through an alphabetical list of titles of finding aids, choose Browse Finding Aids, enter the last name in the Jump to box, e.g. “James”, then click GO. You can now browse through a list of all the finding aids that contain the papers of someone with the last name “James”.

Searching names
Since names can appear anywhere in a finding aid and not only in the title, the best way to search for names is to anticipate all the possible ways that person’s name might appear in different finding aids. For example, choose the Search tab, type “Last name, First name” in the first box, choose or in the connecting box, “First name Last name” in the second box, choose or in the connecting box, and finally, if relevant, “First name Middle name Last name” in the third box. Be sure to include the quotation marks after the name and the boolean operator or to connect the three boxes. Limit by Repository = Houghton, and click Search.

Refining your search
If too many records are returned or if you want to narrow your search, you can click on Refine search (just above the list of records and below Browse Finding Aids) and then choose Search within the current selection.

Some additional finding aids and catalogs are available only on-site. If you have trouble locating the materials you seek, please contact the Public Services Department via e-mail.

Images and Photographs

If you are looking for photographs, a good place to start is with the Directory to Photographs at Harvard. Click on the Repositories A-Z tab and find the four entries for Houghton Library. You can read summary descriptions of the photographic holdings in and guides for searching the Harvard Theatre Collection, Modern Books and Manuscripts, Printing and Graphic Arts, and the Theodore Roosevelt Collection.

Searching HOLLIS
You can search for visual materials in HOLLIS in various ways, and to be as comprehensive as possible, you should do more than one search. If you were searching for visual materials related to the World Wars, for example, you would go to Advanced Search, and select Material Type = Image. Enter Keywords anywhere = world war, and limit your search to Location = Houghton. Since Search For = Image will only return entire collections of visual materials (a set of posters, for example) but not manuscript collections containing just a few photographs (for example), you should do another Advanced Search. Select Material Type = Archives / Manuscript  and enter Keywords anywhere = world war AND photograph* (the asterisk means the system will find all words that begin with “photograph”, such as “photographs”, “photography”, “photographic”), then limit your search to Location = Houghton.

Searching OASIS
Many manuscript collections contain photographs, which are described in the associated finding aid in OASIS. If you would like to browse through finding aids that include photographs, Search for “photograph*” in Anywhere, Limit by Repository = Houghton and click on Search.  To browse through Theatre Collection finding aids that include photographs, Search for “photograph*” in Anywhere and, on a separate line, “Harvard Theatre Collection” in Anywhere.

Searching VIA
There is a Harvard catalog dedicated to visual holdings, HOLLIS Images, which describes a small number of photographs at Houghton as well as some designs and photographs in the Theatre Collection. If you are looking for items at Houghton, be sure to click on Advanced Search and select Image repository from the Any field dropdown menu and enter Houghton or "Harvard Theatre Collection" (including the quotation marks) in the correspondeng search box.

Digital Images

Searching HOLLIS Images To search for other digital materials, you can begin in HOLLIS Images. You can limit your search to a specific collection by clicking on Advanced Search, selecting Image repository from the Any field dropdown menu, and entering the collection name (e.g. Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, or Theodore Roosevelt Collection) in the corresponding search box. To limit results to only digital images, select Online from the Refine My Results page.

Searching HOLLIS+ In HOLLIS+, enter the relevant search terms and then limit Location to Houghton. You may also choose a particular format if you wish. On the results page, limit the list of items to those with images online by selecting Available online from the Show only box on the top left of the results.  For example, a search for “Dickinson, Emily” limited to Houghton will return the record for her digitized Herbarium, but also all of finding aids and books that contain the phrase Dickinson, Emily. Selecting Available online will limit the results to only those items which have been partially or fully digitized.

Searching OASIS In OASIS you may search for digital content in finding aids by checking the box to Limit to finding aids with digital content on the search page. You may use this limit in combination with other search terms and limits. Within a finding aid, if there is at least one link to digital content, a Digital Content tab will appear alongside the Full Finding Aid and Summary: Context tabs.