This guide is selective and intended as a point of departure for research in the history of science.
Other general guides
- For an introductory guide: Library Research Guide: History of Science: Introduction
- Finding Primary Sources Online offers methods for finding digital libraries and digital collections on the open Web and for finding Digital Libraries/Collections by Region or Language.
- Online Primary Source Collections for the History of Science lists digital collections at Harvard and beyond by topic
- Online Primary Source Collections for History lists digital collections at Harvard and beyond by topic
- This guide lists only history of science sources. General historical sources are listed in Library Research Guide for History.
- More specialized sources are available in Specialized Resources in the History of Science
Please feel free to email with questions. We can make an appointment for you to come in, and we can talk at length about your project.
Getting What You Need
How can you get your hands/eyes on material?
HOLLIS- the center of the Library ecosystem. This is often be the best first step to see if we have something. Many items are readily available through HOLLIS by clicking on "Online Access" or opening the listing and scrolling down to the "Get it" section. Check the HOLLIS section of this guide.
Browser Plugins for Library Access- Harvard Bookmark and Lean Library plugins can help you find out if we have access to books and articles online-- so you don't always have to go to HOLLIS when you want to know if we have a certain item.
Off-Site Storage. Hit Request Pick Up in the Get It section of the HOLLIS Record. After your Harvard Key there is a pull down menu allowing you to choose delivery location. Sometimes there is a single delivery option. Submit your request. You will receive an email usually next business day (not weekends or holidays) morning. Item is usually ready for pick-up in mid-afternoon. Sometimes Offsite storage material is in-library use only. For Widener, this is the Widener 1st floor room formerly the Periodical Room and the temporary location for Houghton (directly across the lobby from the Circulation Room). Most Offsite storage material is available for scanning via Scan & Deliver (see below).
Scan & Deliver/Interlibrary Loan- request pdfs of articles and book chapters from HOLLIS listings when you cannot get online access.
- Limit: 2 chapters from a book or 2 articles from a journal.
Interlibrary Loan request materials from other libraries (log in on the ILL page)
- Some non-Harvard special collections may be willing and able to scan material (usually for a fee). Our Interlibrary Loan department will place the request and help with the cost (there is a cap).
- Contact the other repository to see if they're able to scan what you need. Get a price estimate for the material and the exact details (like Box 77 folder 4- this is often available in Finding Aids)
- Log in to ILL. On the left side it says "Make a Request." Open that and choose "Request Article."
- Fill in what you can (put in N/A if the field is inapplicable) with the price and other information in the Comments box.
- This will get the process going and ILL will get back to you if they need more information or to discuss the price.
BorrowDirect - the fastest way to get books, music scores, some DVD and video, that we don't have in the library.
Purchase Request Specify if you want print or online
Access to Harvard Special Collection Materials
- Look for "Request to Scan or Visit" in HOLLIS (to place a scanning request) or contact the repository directly. Most of our larger archival collections are able to provide scans.
Graduate students and visiting scholars are eligible to have a carrel in the Widener stacks: start the process with the carrel request form. (If you do this right at the start of the semester, it may take a few weeks before you receive confirmation.) Materials from the Widener stacks, including non-circulating materials like bound periodicals, can be checked out to your carrel.
Help with Digital Projects
The Digital Scholarship Support Group offers faculty, students, and staff interested in incorporating digital methods into their teaching and research a single point of entry to the many resources available at Harvard.
Borrow Direct is back! If a book is checked out or not owned by Harvard, you can probably get it within 1-4 days via Borrow Direct. This is quicker than recalling it (hitting the Request link) from the person who has it. Largely for books, but some DVDs, microfilm and other formats are available. The Borrow Direct catalog can be tricky to search. Omlt subtitles in searched, and use the main title and the author's last name. Try several searched to be sure.
Digitization of Special Collections materials
Several special collections, including Harvard Archives, Houghton and Schlesinger, are planning to digitize, where possible, material needed by students and researchers as well as for Fall courses. If you have requests, please submit them as soon as possible. Requests will be filled as far as available time and personnel allow. Contact the repository directly with requests.
Our document delivery service can scan portions of materials in our physical collections- an article in a journal; a chapter in a book, up to about 30 pages. When you make a request, we will do our best to find a digital version for you. Please submit your request using the Scan & Deliver link in the HOLLIS entry, regardless of the library location, and we’ll let you know if it’s available. Requests for scans of material in other institutions will be filled when possible.
Only books not available through HathiTrust Temporary Access can be requested for Lamont pick up.
Imaging Services staff are now (6/29) working again in Widener. If a patron is seeking a reproduction s/he should submit a request, which will trigger a reply from the owning repository. https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/imagingcustomerservice/requesting-reproductions?admin_panel=1&login=1
Old News (6/29/20)
Library book pickup
The first phase of reopening the Library begins on June 30. Books from the Harvard Depository, Lamont and Widener (only) can be requested via HOLLIS and picked up in the vestibule in Lamont between the two sets of doors at the main entrance. When you get the hold pickup notice there will be a link to LibCal. In LibCal you will choose a time slot to do the pickup. No one can pick up a book without having scheduled a pickup time.
Books that were on hold the day we shut the doors are still on hold. If you want a held book, contact Access: email@example.com.
Digitization of Special Collections materials
Several special collections, including Harvard Archives, Houghton and Schlesinger, are planning to digitize, where possible, material needed for Fall courses. If you have requests, please submit them as soon as possible. Requests will be filled as far as available time and personnel allow. Contact the repository directly with requests.
HathiTrust Emergency Access (explained here https://www.hathitrust.org/ETAS-Description) is expected to continue as long as library service is limited. Note that:
--Double login in (both HOLLIS and HathiTrust) is no longer required. Just log in to HOLLIS when you begin.
--The full runs of journals available in HathiTrust will be available even where Harvard only has a partial run
--When searching in HathiTrust, do not select View Online Only. Selecting it will omit the Temporary Access material in your results.
--No downloading is available for the Temporary Access material
Data Visualization workshops
The schedule for summer workshops in data visualization is available https://library.harvard.edu/services-tools/visualization-support.
Online Primary Sources
We have created a new page on the History guide on Finding Primary Sources Online: https://guides.library.harvard.edu/history/digital Any comments or suggestions welcome.
New library guides available
*FAS Course Support from the Library: A Guide for Faculty https://guides.library.harvard.edu/FAScoursesupport
*Copyright Considerations for the Harvard Community in Shifting Courses from In-Person to Online During the COVID-19 Crisis https://guides.library.harvard.edu/CopyrightCOVID
*Using Published Video in Online Courses https://guides.library.harvard.edu/UsingVideo
Look at History of Science Web Directories
Research Methods Guide Department of History and Philosophy of Science (Cambridge University)
Using the Harvard Library- general information
Find Resources in Other Disciplines
Research guides in a variety of subjects are available in Harvard Library: E-Resources: choose Subject + Resource Type: Research Guides. Guides are also available via the Harvard Libguides site which includes some guides not accessible through Harvard Library.
Some of these are:
- Area Studies
- Finding Periodical Articles and Book Reviews on Africa
- Asian Studies Research Guides
- Finding Periodical Articles and Book Reviews on Latin America
- Guides for Middle Eastern Studies
- Slavic and Eurasian Studies at Harvard: Library and Archival Resources
- Humanities/Social Sciences
- Inter Libros: Research Guide for Classics, Byzantine, & Medieval Studies
- Rinascimento: Digital Renaissance Studies
- Bioethics sources
- Literary Research in Harvard Libraries and Literary Research in Harvard Libraries (Comparative Edition)
- Philosophy Resources at Harvard