Understand What HOLLIS Is

HOLLIS is two databases in one. 

It 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. 

Think of HOLLIS as a discovery platform -- a way to search panoramically across subjects, languages, time periods, and information formats.

In HOLLIS, you'll only get at articles by using the default "Catalog & Articles" option. That's the most common way users approach HOLLIS: they take a wide-angled approach to their information seeking and work to sharpen their focus from there.

Know How to Build Good Searches

Creating search strings with some of the techniques below can help you get better results up front. 

conventions to use quotation marks, Boolean operators, truncation with an asterisk, parenthesis for synonyms

Take Control of Your Search 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 to bring your results into sharper focus:

Limit your search results set just to the items listed in as  BOOKS or BOOK CHAPTERS

  • Your numbers will immediately get smaller. And with book chapters, you may discover a great resource that you might not have seen by relying solely on the titles of books.

 Limit your 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).

Try adding an additional keyword (or keywords) to indicate what you're after. Examples

  • handbook  or companion or encyclopedia  are common words to help identify good background or overview sources.
  • criticism or interpretation are words that will bring up secondary source studies of a book, film, artwork, musical piece, play, artist or writer, etc. 
  • history is a way to get at full-length studies not just of countries or events, but also of ideas and concepts and broad subjects. 
  • debate or controversy (or controvers* to pick up variants), or contested or disputed are words that will often help you surface works that identify the "stakes" of a particular argument, action, conclusion, etc. 

 

Request PDFs From Us

Scan and Deliver

When an article you find in HOLLIS is not owned at Harvard, or is available in a printed journal volume but not online, you can ask us to make a PDF for you through a service called Scan and Deliver.

We'll send you an email when it's ready for downloading, typically between 1 and 4 days after you place the request. Scan and Deliver is a free service to Harvard affiliates.

Scan and Deliver is also an option if you want up to two chapters of any Harvard-owned book digitized for your use.  

Finding Copies of Books Near You

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

 

  • 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 OR CITY  to identify your options.
  • 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). 
  • 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. 
  •  Borrow Direct Plus: currently enrolled Extension School students who live near a member of this library consortium can obtain a card that allows access to the collections and privileges similar to those at Harvard libraries.  

Participating members: Brown U, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, U of Chicago, U Penn, Yale

  • If you live close by the college or university from which you graduated, ask about ALUMNI PRIVILEGES there