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Social Studies 98


Contextualizing Sources


 The Oxford Handbook of Political Theory 

In this book forty-five articles by distinguished political theorists look at the state of the field, where it has been in the recent past, and where it is likely to go in future. They examine political theory's edges as well as its core, the globalizing context of the field, and the challenges presented by social, economic, and technological changes.




Cambridge Companion to Tocqueville (2008)

A set of critical interpretive essays by internationally renowned scholars which treate Tocqueville's major themes (liberty, equality, democracy, despotism, civil society, religion) and texts (Democracy in America, Recollections, Old Regime and the Revolution, other important reports, speeches and letters).




The Palgrave Handbook of Mass Dictatorship (2016) 

Adopting a truly global approach to the realities of modern dictatorship, this handbook examines the multiple ways in which dictatorship functions - both for the rulers and for the ruled - and draws on the expertise of more than twenty five distinguished contributors coming from European, American, and Asian universities. 

Harvard has this volume only in print format; to view the table of contents and read abstracts, however, you can point your browser here.





The Oxford Bibliographies Online

OBO combines the best features of the annotated bibliography with an authoritative subject encyclopedia  in order to help you identify some of the most important and influential scholarship on a broad topic.

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.

The database updates quarterly, to keep material current. 

Sample entries relevant to SS 98st student projects include:


The International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences, first published in 2001 and completely revised in 2015, is an effort to map the map the social and behavioral sciences on a grand scale. As such, it is a vast, authoritative, and efficient first point of entry for researchers. 

Each article provides a detailed overview of the individual, idea, phenomenon, movement or field it treats, complete with cross-references.  All articles are followed with useful bibliographies identifying the scholarship and texts that have been most important in shaping consensus thinking as well as the figures who are now making cutting edge contributions 

Because the  IESBS is part of a larger online information pavilion, called Science Direct, related content links will sometimes appear on the right side of the subject entry, to encourage further exploration and discovery. 

The Scholarly Conversation Beyond JSTOR and HOLLIS

Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (ProQuest)

WPSA provides citations to and summaries of journal literature in political science and related fields, including political sociology, political theory, economics, law, and public policy.  If you want to experiment with a larger collection, try ProQuest's Policy Collection database.


An online directory of online academic research in all aspects of philosophy, including political theory.  Among its helpful features is the ability to browse a topic list that has been defined and is maintained by the site's philosopher-community. One of its current aims is to classify all its contents according to a finely grained taxonomy.

For some topics headnotes summarize major trends, influential works, controversies and debates, and even identify good introductory texts for those new to a philosophical concept.  

Sociological Abstracts (ProQuest)

A core resource for Social Studies concentrators, researchers, professionals, and students in sociology, social planning/policy, and related disciplines. It includes citations and abstracts from over 1800 journals, relevant dissertations, selected books and book chapters, and association papers, as well as citations for book reviews and other media. If you want to widen your results just a bit, try also searching in ProQuest's Sociology Collection database.

Historical Abstracts and America: History and Life (EBSCOhost)

These companion databases are essential tools for discovering scholarship on, respectively, world history (1450-present), and U.S. and Canadian history (prehistory to present). 

Need a different lens? Browse / search Harvard's subject databases here.


HOLLIS in the Time of Coronavirus




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).





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.

1. Scan & Deliver

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.

2. Hathi Trust Temporary Emergency Access Library 

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 copyright), 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.


3. Internet Archive Open Library

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).  

Some Quick Leads, by. Student Topic


American Presidency Project (UCSB)

FRUS [Foreign Relations of the United States]

Digital National Security Archive

U.S. Declassified Documents Online

HEIN Online Presidential Library



ProQuest Historical Newspapers

FBIS [Foreign Broadcast Information System]


PRIMARY (Examples)

Fortune, Timothy Thomas [HOLLIS  author search; includes link to full-text of New York Age]

Schuyler, George [HOLLIS author search; limited to online]

Washington, Booker T [HOLLIS author search; limited to online]

ProQuest History Vault: Civil Rights and the Black Freedom Struggle

ProQuest Historical Black Periodicals

African American Periodicals, 1825-1995

The Young Black Conservatives of Trump's America [Vice News, YouTube]


America: History and Life



Loeb Classical Library 

Res Gestae

Library Expert: Steve Kuehler, Research Librarian 

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.  


 Zoteroa 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: