This guide is selective and intended as a point of departure for research in American Studies.
Please feel free to email us with questions. We can make an appointment for you to come in, and we can talk at length about your project.
- Widener Library Call Number Guide (Scroll down to Finding Materials
- Widener Library tours are available every Thursday at 2:00 in the Widener lobby
Finding a pertinent book on the shelf and then looking at its neighbors is an excellent way of finding more material, because the call number system is also a subject system: QH 30 means biographies of biologists and naturalists.
Many of Harvard's library materials are located in Offsite storage. When HOLLIS "Location and Availability " indicates that a title is in Offsite storage, hit Request Item. After your Harvard Key there is a pull down menu allowing you to choose delivery location. Sometimes there is a single delivery option. Submit your request. You will receive an email usually in next business day (not weekends or holidays) morning. Often the item is not actually ready for pick-up until mid-afternoon. Sometimes Offsite storage material is in-library use only. For Widener, this is the Phillips Reading Room (up the stairs in the Circulation Room). Most Offsite storage material is available for scanning via Scan & Deliver (see below).
The Harvard Direct system allows you to request that a book from one library be delivered to another or paged and brought to the circulation desk of the home library. Hit Request item on the HOLLIS record for a book that is not checked out. Delivery takes 1-4 days.
If you have the citation to an article which is not available online or the pages or chapter (up to 30 pp.) from a book, Scan & Deliver will email you the pdf within 1-4 days. Hit Scan & Deliver on the HOLLIS record. For an article in a journal or pages from a book not owned by Harvard, Interlibrary Loan will obtain scans: choose Request Article/Chapter under ILL Requests on your ILL page.
If a book is checked out or not owned by Harvard, you can probably get it within 1-4 days via Borrow Direct. This is quicker than recalling it from the person who has it.
Interlibrary Loan will obtain, generally within 1 week-10 days, material not held by Harvard. This includes books (for which try the quicker Borrow Direct first), DVDs, microfilm and other formats: choose Request Loan under ILL Requests on your ILL page. ILL will also obtain scans of periodical articles and book chapters not available at Harvard: choose Request Article/Chapter under ILL Requests on your ILL page. This takes only 1-4 days. Use WorldCat to verify references for InterLibrary Loan. Give them the Accession no. at the bottom of the WorldCat record in the OCLC field of the ILL request form.
More guides are available via the Harvard Library Research Guides site