Welcome to Harvard! This guide is intended to assist Institute of World Literature participants with coursework and research. It will lead you into the libraries and their collections and connect you to people who can help you find authoritative sources of information for papers, projects, and presentations.

Catalogs and Databases

From any computer

From library computers

Use a library computer to get access without a HarvardKey:

Log into a library computer

  • Select "OK" to get past the warning that data will not be saved
  • Ignore the first set of login boxes: instead, select "How do I sign in to another domain?” (small, pale link below the login boxes)
  • On the next screen, read the instructions below the login boxes. Use hcl-patron as your local user name.



Use library.harvard.edu to explore Harvard's many different libraries:

Special collections (manuscripts, archives, and rare books)

How to Use Harvard Library's Special Collections and Archives gives a general overview. Tips:

  • Register in advance
    • You may need a registration card in addition to your library pass. Check with the holding library for more information and be prepared to present a government-issued ID.
  • Request materials in advance
    • Search HOLLIS for materials you'd like to consult. From HOLLIS, use the "request to copy or visit" links to add items to your special request account. Note that many items are stored offsite and may not be available until the next business day.
  • Contact the holding library for details
    • Each special collection has different hours and policies. You may need to make an appointment or other arrangements.
    • Each collection has expert staff: ask for help and for recommendations!

General collections (browse the shelves and find space to work)

Find a Space: preview library spaces and search for specific amenities.

Offsite materials

  • Contact the owning library for instructions on how visiting researchers can request offsite materials.
    • For Widener: go to Room 150 (Widener Reading Room) to submit requests for offsite materials.
  • Once requested, materials typically arrive the next business day

Library buildings

Present your yellow visiting researcher pass to staff at the library entrance.

  • Widener - social sciences, humanities, collections in over 100 languages
  • Lamont - general undergraduate collection, Multimedia Lab, Poetry Room, government documents
  • Cabot Science Library - science collection, group study rooms, open desks, media studios
  • Fine Arts Library - visual arts and architecture, artists' books, prints, photographs
  • Harvard-Yenching Library - East Asian studies, extensive rare and special collections
  • Loeb Music Library - music, including scores and recordings
  • Tozzer Library -anthropology and archaeology, special emphasis on materials relating to the indigenous peoples of the Americas


Get Help

Librarians are here to help!

"How to do research" - start with these FAQs for different topics. Each includes top database recommendations and contact information for the library expert in that subject.

How to do research in Literature - library resources for researchers working on English, Comparative Literature, world literature, literary theory, and literary criticism in any language.

Ask Us - general help is available via chat, email, and appointment.

Library Research Guides - research strategies and resource recommendations for a variety of specific subject areas.