What is HOLLIS?

HOLLIS is the Harvard University Libraries discovery interface. It includes both the library catalog, resources which Harvard holds or owns, and a number of other databases, collections of resources to which Harvard has access. 

catalog is a list of records for the holdings in a collection. Each record gives the citation information for a resource which is in the collection.

database is a collection of resources or references for resources which are not necessarily gathered together because they all are in the same collection, but rather are gathered together because they all relate to the same area of knowledge. 

The library owns and has access to materials in its library catalog, but not necessarily all the materials in its databases. It depends on copyright.

How do you find materials relevant to Folklore Studies?

Resources in libraries are organized by subject area, and these subject areas are indicated by the first part of a resource's call number. 

call number is a number assigned to a resource to help people locate it. A call number also indicates which subject area a resource is in.


Propp, V. Morphology of the Folktale. Publications of the American Folklore Society.
Bibliographical and Special Series; v. 9. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968.     

GR550 .P7613 1968     

A few notes:

  • This resource is classified under G for Geography, Anthropology, and Recreation; and under GR for Folklore.
  • GR500 to 615 are folklore resources in the subjects of supernatural beings, demonology, fairies, ghosts, charms, etc.
  • The second part of the call number organizes materials by author name so that they can be further ordered.
  • The last part of the call number is actually the year in which the resource was published.
  • Use the Library of Congress Classification Outline to understand the logic behind the full gamut of LC call numbers.

How are folklore materials classified?

Harvard has a historical classification system of its own, referred to as the Old Widener system. For materials classified under this system, materials relevant to Folklore Studies can be found under the following call numbers:

  • 1200-9800 (Linguistics)
  • 24200-29300 (Folklore)
  • RR4791-RR4810 (Folklore reference books in Widener Library's Loker Reading Room)
  • Afr
  • Asia
  • Celt
  • Ger
  • Heb
  • IndL
  • PScan
  • PSlav

For materials classified under the Library of Congress system, folklore materials can be found predominantly under the following call numbers:

  • B (philosophy, psychology, religion)
  • BL (religions, mythology, Rationalism)
  • BS (Bible)
  • CB (history of civilization)
  • D (world history)
  • G (geology, anthropology, recreation)
  • GR (folklore)
  • M (music)
  • P (philology, linguistics)
  • PN (literature general)

How do you search by call numbers?

How to find materials by call number in the library catalog:

  • Open HOLLIS, Harvard's library catalog.
  • Above the search bar, there are options for different types of searches. Select Starts with / Browse
  • A new search box will appear. On the left of the search box is the text Browse by followed by a dropdown menu. Click the downward arrow and select Call Number - Library of Congress or Call Number - Old Widener from the dropdown menu (for Old Widener and other specialized call numbers, select Code: Local call number, instead). This tells the search to look for materials which are classified under a specific call number.
  • Type a call number into in the search box, and add an asterisk * after the last character in the call number of which you are certain. 
  • Select the Search button in the bottom right corner of the expanded search box. 

This search will retrieve materials in the library collection classified under a specific call number.

What if Harvard does not have a resource?

Interlibrary Loan

If a resource is not available at Harvard Libraries, it can be obtained through the library's document delivery service. For example, if you find an item record in HOLLIS for such an item, you may see a link therein to request it via BorrowDirect (hard copy delivery), Scan & Deliver (digital scans), or Interlibrary Loan (either hard copy delivery or digital scans). Click whichever option works best for you. In case you were wondering, Scan & Deliver and book requests via HOLLIS are also available for many Harvard Library materials.

Sometimes the item you're seeking does not appear in HOLLIS. In that case, you must create and/or sign into your "ILL and Scan & Deliver" account (access via the "Submit an Interlibrary Loan Request" button on the Interlibrary Loan page) and submit an online request form. There are specific forms for different document types (e.g. book, article). A librarian will then contact other institutions which hold the resource to request to borrow it on your behalf. You will be notified by email when the library has located and subsequently received the materials. Researchers can track the status of their request through their "ILL and Scan & Deliver" account, as well as see the due dates of any inter-library loaned materials which they have checked out, and request loan extensions. To see what you have checked out from Harvard Library's collection instead, you should log into My Account/Renew in HOLLIS.

If you are seeking something for which these options don't suffice, please be in contact with the library liaison to Celtic Languages and Literatures, Ramona Crawford, to find out whether an alternative approach is available to you.