Oxford Bibliographies Online combine the best features of the annotated bibliography with those of good subject overview in order to help you identify some of the most important and influential scholarship on a broad topic (mass incarceration, bilingual education, outcomes of social movements and protest activities, social stratification, and so forth).
Often the issue in information-seeking isn't scarcity of material but overabundance. OBO entries can help you solve the problem of knowing what or who to read or which voices in the conversation you should give some fuller attention to. See, for example:
Your "default" approach to searching Harvard's catalog, HOLLIS, is probably similar to your Google approach: enter some words, see what comes up, then try again or improve from there.
But BROWSING in the library catalog part of HOLLIS is an under-appreciated research strategy, especially when you're trying to discover your interest.
It helps you see, for example, how writing ABOUT an author, an idea, an event, etc. has been broken down and categorized. So instead of getting the typical list of titles, you see results in terms of sub-topics. Inspiration may lie there!
Open HOLLIS. Click on the link above the search box. Then select SUBJECT.
A current, interdisciplinary, bilingual (English and Spanish), and comprehensive full text database of the newspapers, magazines, and journals of the ethnic, minority and native press.
Archival runs of 26 of the most influential, longest-running serial publications covering LGBT+ interests.In addition to the Advocate and Gay Times, the pre-eminent US and UK titles, respectively, key publications include Diva, Pink Paper and Transgender Tapestry, Chronicles more than six decades of the history and culture of the LGBT community and also serves related disciplines such as sociology, political science, psychology, health, and the arts,
Searches across the contents of major U.S. dailies, notable Black newspapers, and some foreign newspapers.Among the titles included: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, St. Louis Post and Dispatch, and the Wall Street Journal.
Features the leading women's consumer magazines of the 20th century digitized in full color and high resolution. Includes the following titles: Better Homes and Gardens (1922-2005); Chatelaine (1928-2005); Good Housekeeping (1885-2005); Ladies' Home Journal (1883-2005); Parents (1926-2005); Redbook (1903-2005). Monthly issues cover social, historical, and cultural trends in the areas of business/marketing, fashion, women's/gender studies, design and illustration.
Consider the power of domains. Add a tag like those below to a keyword search and you'll both trim and target your results a little more.
site:.twitter.com | site:.youtube.com | site:.facebook.com
Consider the power of filetypes
filetype:.pdf [often brings up "meatier"/longer documents to the top of your results
Consider the hidden power of the Google Advanced Search screen
A full text database of unique and diverse publications that focus on the impact of gender across a broad spectrum of subject areas. The database provides abstracts and the full text of some 175 academic and scholarly journals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, regional publications, books, booklets and pamphlets, conference proceedings, and government, non-governmental organization, and special reports.
Covers four hundred magazines, academic journals, news sources, that treat gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender themes.
The gold-standard database for research into psychology and its allied fields.
Most of the research databases you use through the Harvard Library search for information differently than Google Scholar. Most base their results lists on "metadata" -- the descriptive information about items that identifies features in certain fields (title, author, table of contents, subject terms, etc.).
While Google Scholar's algorithms account for some of this same information, it adds full-text into the mix when it retrieves, sorts, and ranks search results.
What does this mean for you? Sometimes, better relevance, especially on the first page or so.
And sometimes, given that it searches full-text, Google Scholar might reveal more quickly than our databases where a hard-to-find nugget of scholarly information is hidden away in a published article.
Google Scholar can also be a good place to do a "cited reference" search in order to trace scholarly reaction to/engagement a particular article forward in time.
Covers the international literature in social sciences, drawing its contents from the key databases for sociology, and such related fields as politics, social policy, and anthropology.
USING HOLLIS WELL: THREE CONSIDERATIONS
1. Understand what it is.
HOLLIS combines the extensive contents of our library catalog, the record every item owned by every Harvard Library with those of another, large and multidisciplinary database of journal, newspaper, and magazine articles.
When you search "everything" searching both of these databases together, at once. For better or for worse, "everything" is our system default.
2. Know how to work it.
Creating search strings with some of the techniques below can help you get better results up front.
3. Take control of your results.
While the broad and panoramic approach to searching HOLLIS can be mind-opening, you can sometimes find yourself overwhelmed by either the numbers or types of results your search returns.
When that happens, try one of these easy tricks:
Limit your Everything search results set just to the items listed in the LIBRARY CATALOG.
Your numbers will immediately get smaller. Keep in mind, though, that the results will be heavily weighted toward book-length studies.
Limit your Everything search results set to items that are identified as PEER REVIEWED ARTICLES.
You'll eliminate newspaper and magazine materials as well as books, of course, but you'll also raise the visibility of scholarly journal articles in what displays.
Think about limiting your results to publications from the last 5, 10, 15, or 20 years.
By doing so you'll get a snapshot of the most recent research trends and scholarly approaches in a field (or around a particular issue).
RESOURCES IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS
Despite the fact that our physical items are unavailable and buildings are shuttered, HOLLIS can and should continue to be a key research resource, wherever students are. That's in part because of the sheer size and enormous variety of what it contains, but also because the content students can surface there is substantial.
Here are some ways to think through your digital options in HOLLIS
This service, free to Harvard students even before the pandemic, can be a lifesaver when you find something in the catalog that's essential -- but only available in print.
Scan & Deliver allows you to request a PDF of an article, a portion of a book (and now, a portion of a special collection, under some circumstances). Just remember that the library staff responsible for this service are returning to campus slowly, so the response time (usually within 4 days) may be delayed.
NOTE: Initiate Scan and Deliver requests through HOLLIS.
If HathiTrust has a digitized copy, you'll be able to check it out, reserves-style. Presently, loans are given for 1 hour, automatically renewable if there's no waiting list for the item you're using.
Hathi Trust materials can't be downloaded or printed out (when they're in copyrright), but the upside is that you'll have excellent access to our collection in print, even when you can't use the print.
Normally, your access to HathiTrust items is seamless via Harvard; when you see the record details, click on the link to initiate check out.
NOTE: If you go directly into HathiTrust through the link above, be sure you click on the button, top right and choose Harvard University.
For books not available online via a HOLLIS link or through HathiTrust, the Open Library may be a good next step. You'll need to create a free account to "check out" books (temporarily, for up to 2 weeks).
4. Lamont West Door Pickup (if you're in / near Cambridge)
Materials that are available for checkout are requested online via HOLLIS; they are paged for you by library staff. When they are ready, you receive an email directing you to schedule a pick up time (15-minutes windows, as available)
One simple change can turn Google Scholar into what's effectively a Harvard database -- with links to the full-text of articles that the library can provide. Here's what to do: Look to the left of the GS screen and click on the "hamburger" (); then click on . Look for "Library Links." Then type Harvard University into the search box and save your choice. As long as you allow cookies, the settings will keep.
Lean Library: a browser plugin that (nearly always) identifies digital availability of items at Harvard and runs automatically as you search books and articles.