HOLLIS and WorldCat

Two Versions of HOLLIS

We have two online catalogs  (HOLLIS+, and HOLLIS Classic). It’s worth getting to know both of them.

HOLLIS+ and HOLLIS Classic share many great features, including:

  • Phrase searching (searching for multiple words as a phrase, by putting them in quotation marks)
  • Subject, title, author, and call number browsing (described below)
  • Non-Roman character searching
  • Easy exports of citations
  • Access to library account (renewing books, etc.)
  • Use of Boolean operators

In addition, HOLLIS+ includes:

  • Virtual browse (see what books would be next to each other across our collections)
  • The option to filter results to items that are “Not checked out” - updated 3 times per day
  • Tables of Contents of many books and journals
  • Easy options to refine searches (facets) by publication date, format, subject, author, language, location, etc.
  • Searching across books AND articles
  • Finding aids from OASIS
  • Visual image data from VIA and other image databases

Subject Searching

To do a systematic topic search in HOLLIS+, search any reasonable keywords, choose pertinent records, and look at the Subject terms. These are terms chosen by the Library of Congress to express the subject matter of the book. Once you find the proper term for your topic, redo the search using that term.

Child labor -- Law and legislation -- Pennsylvania
Consensus (Social sciences)
Constitutional law -- Moral and ethical aspects
Democracy -- United States
Employee rights
Glass trade -- Law and legislation
Judicial review -- United States
Labor laws and legislation
Representative government and representation
United States -- Politics and government

A list of Subject terms is available at Library of Congress Subject Headings PDF Files.

Subject Browsing:

You can browse Subject terms in either HOLLIS+ or HOLLIS Classic. In HOLLIS+, choose the option to “Browse HOLLIS By…” and then choose “By subject” from the dropdown menu on the left and type in your subject to browse. Alternatively, in HOLLIS Classic, you can enter your subject in the basic search screen as a “Subject beginning with…” search.

In either interface, a search for "Democracy -- United States" (as an example) will retrieve the Subject "Democracy -- United States" broken down to show various aspects of that subject.

Primary Source Terms:

Several of these added terms (called subdivisions) indicate primary sources:

  • --Archives
  • --Correspondence
  • --Description and travel
  • --Diaries
  • --Interviews
  • --Manuscripts
  • --Notebooks, sketchbooks, etc.
  • --Personal narratives (refers to accounts of wars and diseases only)
  • --Sources (usually refers to collections of published primary sources)

e.g., Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924 -- Manuscripts -- Indexes.

Note: Do not enter hyphens (--) into HOLLIS or HOLLIS Classic keyword searches. However, you may use hyphens in HOLLIS+.

Scanning the Shelves Online

Browsing the actual shelves allows you to dip into books and immediately gauge their value. You will, however, miss any books that are checked out or in the Harvard Depository. You can often browse these too, although you cannot dip, by using the call number search in either HOLLIS+ or HOLLIS Classic.

For HOLLIS+, use the “Browse HOLLIS By…” link on the basic search screen and choose the call number system you want to browse by from the dropdown menu on the left. If you don’t see the call number system you want, choose “Other call number.”

In HOLLIS Classic, on the basic search screen, adjust the menu to Call number (Library of Congress) or other system including Widener call number.

Find the call numbers for your search by doing keyword searches or subject browses and noting the call numbers for appropriate items.

The Library of Congress Classification is available online.

For more on HOLLIS+

There is a good deal of material in the Kress Collection of Business and Economics at the Baker Library, Harvard Business School acquired too late to appear in The Making of the Modern World which is not included in HOLLIS. There is much material on th environment of economics and business: social conditions, politics, public health, trade and transport, etc. This material is accessed via a card file at the Baker Library Historical Collections.


Look for specialized subject bibliographies in the HOLLIS Catalog: Search, e.g., <"science and state" [Keyword search] and bibliography [Subject Keyword search]> on Expanded Search screen or in WorldCat.

If Harvard Doesn't Have It

  • Look in Borrow Direct (See Getting What You Need).
  • If not in Borrow Direct, look in WorldCat (below), and submit an Interlibrary Loan request
  • When in WorldCat, find the Series field on the WorldCat record. If your book is a volume in a series, Harvard may own the whole series and have one HOLLIS record for the series, rather than a record for each volume
  • If pre-1923, look in HathiTrust, Google Books and Internet Archive.
  • Submit a purchase request in HOLLIS. If it is a very new book, we may have received it, but it is not in HOLLIS yet.


For material not available at Harvard, search in: WorldCat (the OCLC Union Catalog) which includes catalog records from over 45,000 libraries worldwide but largely U.S. Includes books, periodicals, archives and manuscripts, maps, videotapes, computer readable files, etc. Includes Boston-area libraries.

Importance of WorldCat:

  • 1. Subject searching beyond Harvard. For periodicals: Advanced search. Document type-Serial Publications
  • 2. Clues for finding items in the HOLLIS Catalog, e.g., volumes in monograph series for which HOLLIS has only one record for the whole series.
  • 3. Finding non-Harvard books in Boston-area libraries.
  • 4. Verifying references for InterLibrary Loan. Give them the Accession no. at the bottom of the record.