Getting Started

Setting Up an Account

Before you make any requests, you will need to set up your HOLLIS Special Request account online.  If you have a HarvardKey, please follow the HarvardKey Holders instructions. If you do not have a HarvardKey, please follow the instructions for All other patrons.

You will be taken to a registration form which you must fill out to create your account. When you have finished, click Submit Information and the registration process will be complete.

 

Making Requests

Reading Room Request

You can make a reading room request for special collections materials from Arnold Arboretum, Baker Library Special Collections, Biblioteca Berenson, Botany Libraries, Countway Center for the History of Medicine, the Fine Arts Library, Gutman Library, Harvard Divinity School Library, Harvard-Yenching Library, Harvard University Archives, Houghton Library, the Harvard Theatre Collection, the Harvard Map Collection, Harvard Law School Historical & Special Collections, Loeb Design Library, Loeb Music Library, the Museum of Comparative Zoology, and Tozzer Library, as well as certain unique and rare materials in Widener Library, directly from HOLLIS and HOLLIS for Archival Discovery, or you can create a request manually.

Making a Reading Room Request from HOLLIS

Look for the Request to Copy or Visit link next to the item you want to request. Please note: Not all libraries are on Harvard’s main campus.

When you click the link to make a request, you will be directed to the "HOLLIS Special Request" system's logon screen. A request form will automatically be filled out for you. Fill in any additional information relevant to your request.

To add the date you plan to visit, click on the calendar icon and select a date from the calendar. Then click the Submit Request button. Note that choosing a date does not confirm your appointment. If the date you selected is not available, the individual library will contact you.

Making a Request through HOLLIS for Archival Discovery

To place a request through HOLLIS for Archival Discovery, add items from collection finding aids to your Request List. Please review the Requesting Materials section of the HOLLIS for Archival Discovery user guide. If you do not see an option to Add to my Request List at the item-level, please follow the directions found when clicking on the Request button at the top of a finding aid page.

Making a Reading Room Request Manually

You can also place a request by manually filling out a request form in your account. Click on the Reading Room Request in the New Request drop-down menu of your account.

Title, Library, and Date of Visit fields are required. Please fill out as much information as possible to assist librarians in locating materials.

Copy Request

Requests for copies of items from Harvard Library collections, including special collections, will be considered, case-by-case, based on the policies of individual library repositories, legal constraints, assessments of the physical condition of the original material, and whether the requester agrees to the specified terms of use.

Making a Copy Request from HOLLIS

Look for the Request to Copy or Visit link next to the item you want to request.

When you click the link to make a request, the system will bring you to a New Reading Room Request page. To convert this into a copy request please click the button labeled Switch to Copy Request.

You are now in a New Copy Request page. Bibliographic information from the catalog will appear in the first half of the form. If this is a manuscript collection, add the item number in the Volume/Box/Folder/Item field. Consecutive item numbers can be placed on one request; non-consecutive numbers must be requested separately.

In the second half of the form, let us know how you would like the material copied and delivered to you. If you have further instructions or questions for us, please enter them in the Copy Instructions field.

When you're done, click Submit Request. Your request will be entered in our queue and staff will be in contact with a cost estimate if applicable.

Making a Copy Request from HOLLIS for Archival Discovery

To place a request through HOLLIS for Archival Discovery, add items from collection finding aids to your Request List. Please review the Requesting Materials section of the HOLLIS for Archival Discovery user guide. If you do not see an option to Add to my Request List at the item-level, please follow the directions found when clicking on the Request button at the top of a finding aid page.

Making a Copy Request Manually

To make a new reproduction request from your account, go to the New Requests drop-down menu and click on the Copy Request menu item.

The first half of the request asks you to provide the bibliographic information needed to process your request. Only the Title and Owning Library fields are required; however, enter as much information about the material as you can.

If your request is from a manuscript collection, include both the Call Number and the item information. Consecutive item numbers can be placed on one request; non-consecutive numbers must be requested separately.

 

In the second half of the form, let us know how you would like the material copied and delivered to you. If you have further instructions or questions for us, enter them in the Copy Instructions field.

When you're done, click Submit Request. Your request will be entered in our queue and staff will be in contact with a cost estimate if applicable.

Making Multiple Requests from the Same Collection

Occasionally you will need to make many requests from the same collection. If you have many non-consecutive item numbers, you will need to make separate requests for each. Rather than creating a brand new request, HOLLIS Special Request will allow you to clone (make a copy) of a request.

First, find a request with the same call number. If it is a new request, it can be found in your Outstanding Requests (visible when you first login). To find older requests, go to the Order History drop-down menu and select All Requests.

Once you have located the correct request, click on the title.

On the next screen, click Clone Request.

 

This will take you to a New Reading Room Request. The new request will retain all of the bibliographic and reproduction information from the previous request. You need only to edit the Volume/Box/Folder/Item field to reflect the new item number. Once you have updated the new request, you are done. Simply click Submit Request.

Managing Requests

You can track requests that you have submitted by clicking on the Home link in the main menu of your account or Outstanding Requests under the Request History drop-down.

Common Questions

Registration and Access

I am not affiliated with Harvard. How can I access special collections materials or request reproductions?

You do not need to be affiliated with Harvard to use Harvard Library special collections. If you are not currently affiliated with Harvard University, you must register for a HOLLIS Special Request account. If you plan to visit a Harvard Library, please review the policies and procedures of the library  you plan to visit for more detailed information and specific policies regarding access, use of collections, and when requested materials are available.

When you arrive at a library for the first time, you'll be asked to provide one of the following

  • Harvard ID

  • Harvard Special Borrower Card

  • State-issued driver's license or state-issued identification card, including a photo and date of birth

  • or Passport (U.S. or foreign).

If you do not have one of these forms of identification, please contact the library you would like to visit to make individual arrangements in advance of your research visit.

Do Harvard affiliates need to register for a HOLLIS Special Request account?

Everyone, regardless of academic affiliation, is required to register online for a HOLLIS Special Request account before gaining access to special collections. If you are currently affiliated with the University and have a valid Harvard ID, you do not need to do anything else once you have registered online; simply present your Harvard ID when you go to the library to use materials.

Your account allows you to request special collections at Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Arnold Arboretum, Baker Library Special Collections, Botany Libraries, Countway Center for the History of Medicine, Fine Arts Library, Gutman Library, the Harvard Map Collection, Harvard-Yenching Library, Harvard Law School Library Historical & Special Collections, Harvard University Archives, Houghton Library, Loeb Design Library, Loeb Music Library, the Museum of Comparative Zoology, and Tozzer Library, as well as certain unique and rare materials in Widener Library. It does not allow you to request or access general collections materials at Widener Library.

Requesting Materials

How do I place a request?

There are three ways to place a request: through HOLLIS, HOLLIS for Archival Discovery, and directly through a form in your account.

  1. Through HOLLIS

To place a request for special collections materials through the Harvard library catalog, HOLLIS, click  Request to Copy or Visit in the Get It section of the catalog record. You will be prompted to login to your HOLLIS Special Request account. When you have logged in, the request form will be filled out for you. You must click Submit to complete your request.

  1. HOLLIS for Archival Discovery 

To place a request through HOLLIS for Archival Discovery, add items from collection finding aids to your Request List. Please review the Requesting Materials section of the HOLLIS for Archival Discovery user guide. If you do not see an option to Add to my Request List at the item-level, please follow the directions found when clicking on the Request button at the top of a finding aid page.

  1. You may also fill out the request form yourself. You can access the form by clicking on the Reading Room Request link from the New Requests drop-down on the main menu.

Please note that scheduling a date in your request does not confirm an appointment. If the date you selected is not available, the individual library will contact you.

What materials can I request through my account?

Through your account, you may request materials from Andover-Harvard Theological Library, Arnold Arboretum, Baker Library Special Collections, Botany Libraries, Countway Center for the History of Medicine, Fine Arts Library, Gutman Library, the Harvard Map Collection, Harvard-Yenching Library, Harvard Law School Library Historical & Special Collections, Harvard University Archives, Houghton Library, Loeb Design Library, Loeb Music Library, the Museum of Comparative Zoology, and Tozzer Library, as well as certain unique and rare materials in Widener Library. If you have a question about whether you can request particular materials please contact the library directly.

Is there a limit on the number of requests I can make?

You may only have 30 outstanding requests at a time. If you need to request additional materials, please contact the library directly.

Will materials be waiting for me when I arrive?

Materials that are stored on-site will not be retrieved until you arrive at the library. Materials stored at the Harvard Depository and from certain other collections may be retrieved in advance of your visit. If the visit date you selected is not available, the library will contact you.

What if my plans change and I can’t come in on my scheduled date?

Please contact the individual library directly to reschedule your visit.

Can I re-submit an old request to see the same materials again?

To re-submit a completed request, select the appropriate request under Completed Requests and click on the Clone Request link. You can then change information about the request if appropriate and submit it again.

About Your Account

How can I access information about my requests?

Go to Home to access all requests. The main navigation menu contains the following options:

  • New Requests - Under the New Requests drop-down, click Reading Room Request or Copy Request to create a new request.
  • Order History - The Order History drop-down includes multiple options.
    • Click Saved Requests to view and submit requests you have kept in review.
    • Click Outstanding Requests to view all the requests you have submitted that are not finished.
    • Click Completed Requests to view all finished requests.
    • Click Cancelled Requests to view requests that have been cancelled by you or library staff.
    • Click All Requests to view all the requests you have submitted or saved.
    • Click Orders Awaiting Payment to view all copy orders awaiting payment.
    • Click Delivered Orders to view recently delivered copy orders.
    • Click Search Requests to conduct a keyword search of either all your requests or only active requests.
  • Activities/Classes- Click the Activities/Classes menu option to access lists of requests for Activities.

How can I submit requests for a class or exhibit that I am planning with a library?

If you are planning an activity with library staff, you can ask to be able to place requests for that activity through your online account. Once staff have set up the activity for you, you can place requests for the activity in the same way as you place other requests and simply select the activity from the Request For field on the materials request form.

Can I have my research assistant place requests for me?

If you would like for another person to be able to place requests on your behalf, you can ask library staff to make them a proxy for your account. Your proxy researcher must also register for an account and in order to access materials on your behalf.

What if I forget my password?

In the event that you forget your password, please click on the Forgot Password link on the logon page to reset it. For security reasons, library staff do not have access to your password and cannot tell you what it is.

How long is my request information kept?

Harvard Library may retain information we collect from you in connection with your use of HOLLIS Special Request indefinitely. We may use this information, or provide the information to third parties to use, in a variety of ways, including but not limited to, to satisfy any applicable law, regulation, legal process or governmental request; to detect, prevent or otherwise address fraud, security or technical issues; to protect the rights, property or safety of the library, its users or others; to conduct research; for administration and maintenance of collections or library operations; and otherwise in support of Harvard University mission.

You agree to indemnify and hold the President and Fellows of Harvard College and its affiliates, employees, faculty members, members of its governing boards, and agents harmless from and against any and all claims, losses, liabilities, damages, costs and expenses (including, without limitation, reasonable attorneys' fees) arising out of or relating to your use of the Library's materials or your failure to comply with any of the foregoing terms and conditions.

How long is my account active?

Your account is active indefinitely. However, if it has been more than 365 days since you registered or last updated your account information, you will be asked to update your contact and affiliation information the next time you login.

Requesting Copies of Library Materials

Requests for copies of items from the Harvard Library collections, including special collections, will be considered, case-by-case, based on the policies of individual library repositories, legal constraints, assessments of the physical condition of the original material, and whether the requester agrees to the specified terms of use. Orders may be initiated by submitting a Copy Request in HOLLIS Special Request.

You do not need to be affiliated with Harvard to register for a HOLLIS Special Request account.

Some copy requests may require fees. If fees are required, we will respond with a price quotation. Pre-payment is required for all services. 

Some fee-based copy requests may need to be fulfilled by Imaging Services. Please consult the Imaging Services website for information on services, shipping options, fees, payment methods and refund policy.

Questions for Specific Libraries

Is your question for a specific library? Find their contact information on our Locations & Hours page.