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.
In HOLLIS, you'll only get at articles by using the default "Catalog & Articles" option. That's the most common way users approach HOLLIS: they take a wide-angled approach to their information seeking and work to sharpen their focus from there.
There'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.
Know How to Build Good Searches in HOLLIS
Creating search strings with some of the techniques below can help you get better results up front.
Take Control of Your HOLLIS 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:
Limit your search results set just to the items listed in as BOOKS or BOOK CHAPTERS
- Your numbers will immediately get smaller. And with book chapters, you may discover a great resource that you might not have seen by relying solely on the titles of books.
Limit your 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.
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).
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.
- 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.
- history or biography will usually surface these sorts of contextualizing works.
- ethnography (or the truncated version, ethnograph*) or case studies can surface fieldwork, observation, or close examination of a phenomenon.
Use HOLLIS to Find Primary Sources
SOME WAYS TO IDENTIFY THEM
- Sometimes, adding the word sources to a keyword string will retrieve published collections of primary source materials. Other words that you can try include document* (for documents and documentary); reader; anthology; casebook.
- Using the right side limits, adjust the DATE PARAMETERS of your search results. Items that were published on the subject during the period you specify will qualify as primary sources.
- Using the right side limits, examine the FORM/GENRE categories. Items that have been tagged with words like interviews; autobiography; maps; memoir; speeches; photographs; correspondence; exhibitions (and so on) might help you target various kinds of primary sources. Form/Genre tags are inconsistently applied, so you won't get "everything" -- but often you'll be surprised at how much turns up.
- Look for a biography or history of the place you plan to study. Or add one of these words to your keyword search. Full-length biographies and historical overviews are chock full of primary source references: check footnotes, bibliographies, appendices for further clues. Some of these will be in archives and impossible for you to reach given the constraints of the term; others will be republished and can be easily obtained for you by other means
- If your topic is a social phenomenon, try adding case studies or ethnography to your search terms. These types of work wrap interpretation around primary sources (like interviews or first-hand observations of some kind).
Request PDFs From Us
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.
Track Down Copies of Books via Borrow Direct
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)?
- 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.
Searching Non-Roman Scripts in HOLLIS
Brief Library FAQ on searching non-Roman scripts in HOLLIS
Romanization and Transliteration (tips from the Middle East and Islamic Studies library guide)
Official Transliteration Tables for Non-Roman Scripts from the Library of Congress (includes Arabic, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Vietnamese,Chinese, etc.).