How to search HOLLIS for language material

The first step is check if HOLLIS has the needed language available within the initial search filters. Going into “Advanced search” on the HOLLIS home page, users will find several drop down options on the side of the search fields. Choose the one titled “Language” and scroll until the language is found and chosen. This will give users filtered search results that feature that language.

If your language is not listed on that drop down option, users can also try searching by using the romanization of the language they’re seeking using the ALA-LC Romanization Tables. Some language scripts that have been transliterated and made searchable within library catalogs. This method might work best when searching for older texts. The ALA-LC Romanization Tables are a good place to start as well as this Transliteration Tool. Both of these tools help transliterate text into a romanization script that can be used as a search term.

Users can also choose from the “Search Filters” drop down menu on the left side of the Advanced Search field and choose “MARC language” if they know the MARC language code for the language they’re searching for.  This link is a list of the current MARC languages that are supported. Once the correct MARC language code is found, insert the code into the search field with “MARC Language” selected from the Search Filter drop down.

If users are attempting to find sources that have been translated into English, say for example from Korean, type in “translat*Korean” into Advanced Search and then from the Language dropdown tool, select “English.” This will result in showing all the materials that were originally in Korean that have been translated into English.

Additionally, it’s important to keep in mind older spellings of Indigenous communities (“Navaho” vs “Navajo”) or older alternative names for Indigenous groups that are no longer in use (“Papago” vs “Tohono O’odham”). Be sure to try various spellings and words when looking at older research materials. This also applies to individual names in terms of various Indigenous language spellings or Romanization spellings (for example, a well-known Indigenous person will have more than one name given to them from multiple tribes resulting in multiple names in different languages). It can be helpful to search by as many names as possible to find additional records related to that individual.  One helpful guide for that might be SNAC (Social Networks and Archival Context) which lists out multiple names for individual figures.

Lastly, another good resource is the Foreign Language Literatures section of the Literary Research in Harvard Libraries guide.

For further assistance with searching within HOLLIS and the Harvard Collections, consult the Hollis User Guide or post a question within Ask A Librarian.