Welcome from your Course Librarian
This resource guide has been designed for students in HIST E-597, a Fall 2021 Extension School class taught by Stephen Shoemaker.
The resources and strategies described on this page are specifically targeted: they represent our first best guesses at where you might find easy and more-or-less-comprehensive access to both the scholarly conversations and primary documents upon which your term project will be built.
Remember that good research is often about following up on hunches, testing out a hypothesis and then seeing where else (or to what else) it leads. You may need to try several search combinations before you strike gold.
Let me know if questions arise at any point in your project. We'll triage by email or set up a time to meet on Zoom for a personal consultation.
Enjoy your work!
Sue Gilroy, Research Librarian, Lamont and Widener Libraries
HOLLIS Refresher for Capstone Students
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).
Experiment with limiting your searches to materials available
You'll reduce your numbers of books by a wide margin, not often a good strategy, but an expedient one in exigent circumstances. Learn more about strategies under the Pandemic Considerations tab.
When you're far from Cambridge, identifying books in print and on shelves in Harvard's library buildings can seem like a futile exercise. You can, however, often get your hands on items your find in HOLLIS even if you live many miles away from the Yard.
SOME OPTIONS TO CONSIDER
1. WorldCat: this is a database of library catalogs and useful for identifying college, university, and other library collections that are in your vicinity. Search for the title and then enter your ZIPCODE to identify your options.
With WorldCat, you're going beyond the BorrowDirect consortium and beyond our reciprocal lending agreements. However, as long as any of the area libraries allow you in (often a phone call or a scan of the website will clarify policy), you'll be in luck!
2. Check the catalog of the large PUBLIC LIBRARY in your area. Depending on the region, the size of the library, its mission, and its funding, a local public library may have a significant research component to its collection (The Boston Public Library at Copley Square is a prime example), including e-books and some digitized materials that Harvard may not have.
Public libraries large and small also have access to ebooks, and can be a rich alternative source if Harvard doesn't have what you need or you can't get to our copy.
Moreover, because you are a Harvard student, you're eligible for a BPL ecard, no matter where you're Zooming in from these days; you'll need to sign in with your Harvard email and key to get access, however. See BPL: Who's Eligible for an Ecard? for the registration link.
3. Ask your local library about an INTERLIBRARY LOAN. Libraries routinely borrow from each other on behalf of their patrons; if you have a library card, you should be able to request it (or have a librarian do so). ILL can take a bit of time, however. You might wait a week or a bit more before the item arrives. Some places charge a small fee for the service.
5. If you live close by the college or university from which you graduated, ask about ALUMNI PRIVILEGES there; even in COVID times, it's good to check on your options.
Books, Articles, and Sources Beyond HOLLIS
OBOs combine the best features of the annotated bibliography with an authoritative subject encyclopedia. They aim to help you identify some of the most important and influential scholarship on a broad social, political, cultural or interdisciplinary disciplinary topic. They're regularly updated to remain current.
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.
- Ignore the sign-in prompt to the left of the screen (unless you want to set up a personal account with OBO to store entries you find there). Even without signing in, your Harvard key "unlocks" full access to contents of this database.
- Titles of the books, articles, journals and other materials referenced in an OBO entry should be entered into HOLLIS to determine their availability at Harvard.
Databases are like lenses: they change what you see and how you see it -- and they offer you easy and efficient ways to bring your questions into sharper focus. Every academic discipline has at least one subject database that's considered the disciplinary gold standard -- a reliable, (relatively) comprehensive, and accurate record of the books that scholars are publishing, and the ideas they're debating and discussing in important and influential journals. For your Proseminar, we recommend:
An excellent next step after you've sampled what's available in HOLLIS.
Like HOLLIS, it's also multidisciplinary in its coverage and it also provides you with a range of article types (some scholarly, some not). But while still broad, it's a smaller universe than HOLLIS.
Depending on your topic, in fact, searching in ASP may even be a more efficient route to quality information, simply because it will deliver a more manageable result set.
This databases overs core scholarly journals in 75 fields; historical fields are represented well here. Some of its content is open access and easily discoverable on the web; some is made available only because of your Harvard affiliation and the library's subscription to JSTOR; the most recent issues of journals may not even appear in a JSTOR search, however, if they are behind the database's 1-5 year "moving wall."
SUBJECT SPECIFIC DATABASES
Sociology Database (ProQuest)
CURRENT AND HISTORICAL NEWSPAPERS
- ProQuest Historical Newspapers [time coverage varies; generally, from paper's beginning to late 20th or early 2000s]
- Newspapers.com [1200 U.S. papers, many regional]
- Newspaper Archive.com [good for regional and local newspaper coverage; searching not highly sophisticated, but limiters help and potential for discovery makes it worth the labor]
- Factiva [c.1980-present day]
POPULAR MAGAZINES and PERIODICALS
Digital Primary Sources Online is an extensive list, maintained by librarians Fred Burchsted and Anna Assogba. You may find good leads there, with a littel digging.
Tools for Managing Research
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.
We have a homegrown alternative that you can also use: The Library Bookmarklet.
Zotero, a free, open source citation management tool will take the process of collecting and organizing citations, incorporating them into your paper, and creating a bibliography or works cited page to the next level.
It's worth the small investment of time to learn Zotero. A good guide, produced by Harvard librarians, is available here: http://guides.library.harvard.edu/zotero.
Upcoming classes on Zotero (many virtual) are listed on this page: https://guides.library.harvard.edu/zotero/help#FAS