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Expos 20 | Slave Narratives

RESOURCES AND RESEARCH STRATEGIES FOR ESSAY 3

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. 

cover image for book called slavery remebered by paul escottThere's sometimes an advantage to searching the library catalog separately, however: 

  • You'll usually have smaller result sets to work with. 
  • You'll privilege results that are in book form and available at Harvard, in print or online.  
  • You'll be able to tap into a rich system of subject tags that will link you to related sources.

 

In HOLLIS, you'll only get at articles by choosing the "Everything" search.  

 

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:

 

1. Limit your Everything search results set just to the items listed in the LIBRARY CATALOG.

  • Your numbers will immediately get smaller. Keep in mind, though, that the results will be heavily weighted toward book-length studies.

2. Limit your Everything 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. 

3. 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).

 

4. 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. 
    • theory or theoretical or philosophy or philosophical  sometimes help surface works in larger contexts or examined via a "lens" of some kind. 

 

Browsing in HOLLIS

 

BROWSING in the library catalog is an under-appreciated research strategy, especially at those moments when you're trying to discover your research interest.

Browsing helps you see how writing ABOUT a text, image, person, idea, event, etc. has been broken down and categorized. So instead of getting the typical list of titles, you see results in terms of sub-topics.

What does browsing in the HOLLIS catalog look like? Click on the screenshots below to find out. 

 

 


Getting 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.  

Tracking Down Copies of Books

 

What should you do if a book you find in HOLLIS and want to use is:

  • checked out to someone else;
  • declared missing or lost  in the catalog record you are looking at (alas, it happens);
  • on order (that is, coming into the library collection but not yet arrived at Harvard); or
  • in process (that is, it's arrived at Harvard but some final things are being done to get it read for the "stacks," our word for the library shelves)?

In every one of these cases,  open the full item record and look for the BORROW DIRECT option toward the bottom of the screen (under the GET IT information and just before the call number). Follow the prompts from there.

We'll get a copy of the book for you, within 4 days, from another university library. 

If the item is "in process" we'll expedite the process of getting the book ready for use and you'll be quickly notified by email.