Using This Guide, Fall 2020

Welcome to the History of Science at Harvard! Harvard Library staff is here for you with simple questions, research consultations, class visits, and to help you find the materials you need. Contact your History of Science librarians

  • Fred Burchsted, ( Research Librarian and Liaison to the Department of History of Science, Widener Library
  • Emily Bell (, Research Librarian, Lamont Library

Additional access to materials:

For secondary sources and other materials mentioned elsewhere in this guide, most recommendations you'll find here are for virtual resources. Check out Start Searching Right now box on this page to get right to it, but you may need the more specific resources & research help that can be found using the right side menu. Virtual can't replace print entirely, though: not everything out there has been digitized.

Getting What You Need section of this guide helps you gain access to anything that isn't as simple as clicking through.

Many materials otherwise available only in print can be accessed through HathiTrust's Emergency Temporary Access Service and other general digital libraries. HathiTrust materials to which we have special access are listed in HOLLIS (but it doesn't hurt to check the Hathi site anyway- just make sure you're logged in there).  

Materials housed in the library:

Are you in the area? Several of our libraries are able to make materials available for pickup at Lamont Library.
What about onsite materials for those who are offsite? We have a document delivery service (for chapers and articles; see Scan & Deliver for details), and many of the special collections can do scanning (try the View In Library link in the HOLLIS listing to request a scan). When in doubt, ask us or contact the library or special collection individually. 

Materials to which we don't have access:

If another school has an article or book chapter online we can get it for you using Scan & Deliver (see above). You can also submit a Purchase request for material we can't already access online (or which we have in the library but can't get to you). Material which is not readily available for online licensing may be more difficult for us to help with right now, but we'll explore the options for you! 

Start Searching Right Now

Some of the top online resources in the History of Science

Try a subject dictionary, encyclopedia or handbook -- it's an easy way to get a handle on your subject. 

HOLLIS (Harvard Login for best results) is the Harvard Library catalog. You can use it to find books and articles as well as other resources. (More specifics about HOLLIS). 

History of Science, Technology and Medicine (Harvard Login)  books, book chapters, and journal articles. Some social sciences material. More information on History of Science, Technology and Medicine

PubMed with FullText (Harvard Login) PubMed is the most popular index of biomedical literature- the most popular source for articles in medicine, public health, and related topics. More specifics on PubMed here (note: PubMed is free; full text availability depends on library subscriptions)

Web of Science Citation Indexes (Harvard Login) (1900- ) contains articles in all areas of science. You can use the Cited Reference Search in Web of Science to find primary source articles that cite a specified article, thus getting an idea of its reception. More information on searching the Web of Science

Getting Started in Library Research

Many more history of science resources:
The Library Research Guide for the History of Science

Additional general historical and contextual resources:
Library Research Guide for History
Introductory Library Research Guide for History

Guides to general contextual resources at Harvard Library- examples:

Philosophy Resources at Harvard: Bioethics

Library Research Guide for Latin American Studies