Senior Theses Session

Many more history of science resources: The Library Research Guide for the History of Science

General historical and contextual resources Library Research Guide for History

Other Harvard Library guides

Getting What You Need section of this guide helps you gain access to anything that isn't as simple as clicking through.

Searching in HOLLIS

To find books, periodicals, manuscripts, videos, etc., on a topic in HOLLIS, put in likely keywords and choose Library Catalog.  Look at pertinent records and find the terms under Subject. For example, searching "Vietnam war" medical yields

Officer, nurse, woman: the Army Nurse Corps in the Vietnam War, by Kara Dixon Vuic. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010, 271 p.
United States. Army Nurse Corps -- History -- 20th century
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Medical care -- United States
Military nursing -- United States -- History -- 20th century
Military nursing -- Vietnam -- History -- 20th century
Vietnam War, 1961-1975 -- Women -- United States
Women and war

Med. subject
United States - Army Nurse Corps.
Vietnam Conflict
Gender Identity
Military Nursing
Military Nursing - history

Note that there are two sets of Subject terms for medicine.

  • Library of Congress labeled: Subject
  • National Library of Medicine (called MeSH) labeled Med. subject

Under Refine my results: Subject on the right of the results list there are more main terms (Military medicine, Military nursing, Physicians) to try. NOTE: If you hit one of the terms in this Subject list, HOLLIS will find records with the term, say  "Military nursing", only on records in the set originally formed by searching "Vietnam War" medical

Redo your search using the terms that HOLLIS uses.    Also, go to Starts with.../Browse (top black band) and put in Military medicine adjusting to Browse by Subject.  This is very useful in breaking down a large subject and in giving you more subdivisions (the words after the --), which can be applied to other Subject terms.

Whenever you have a reference to a useful book, look it up in HOLLIS and see what the Subject terms are.

These terms can be searched in combination with the names of wars and other subjects:

  • Medical care
  • Health aspects
  • Psychological aspects
  • Casualties
  • Moral & ethical aspects
  • Medical aspects
  • Veterans

Any pertinent book published during your era may be a primary source, but certain kinds of primary sources, including originally unpublished sources such as letters and diaries published later, have particular terms attached to their Subject terms in a HOLLIS record.  Change Any field to Subject for cleanest results.   

  • --Archives
  • --Correspondence
  • --Description and travel
  • --Diaries
  • --Manuscripts
  • --Notebooks, sketchbooks, etc.
  • --Personal narratives (refers to accounts of wars and diseases only)
  • --Sources (usually refers to collections of published primary sources)

Subject contains: "Vietnam War" OR "Vietnam Conflict"
Subject contains: Archives OR Correspondence OR Diaries OR Manuscripts OR Sources OR Narratives
Subject contains: Physicians OR Nurses

When you find a pertinent book, go to Starts With.../Browse and put in the call number, adjusting the menu to Library of Congress (Wid-LC) or Other. This shows you other books on the same subject, even though they may be in storage or checked out.

See the Library Research Guide for History and the HOLLIS Help guide for more information on searching HOLLIS.


Exploring Your Topic with Subject Encyclopedias, Bibliographies and Similar Resources  --  In this guide

Finding Encyclopedias in HOLLIS

Find Encyclopedia articles in HOLLIS Everything- general searching may bring up material within the larger publications


Other types to search for: companions, guides


Biographical material 

Subject encyclopedias may yield personal names. Look for them in HOLLIS

Some of the standards: Complete Dictionary of Scientific Bibliography, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, American National Biography

Guide to finding biographical information about medical figures

Secondary Sources

  • Pay attention to natural language and proper names
  • What kinds of sources are used?
  • What kinds of sources can you imagine?

America History & Life covers secondary sources for the United States and Canada, "prehistory" to the present.

Historical Abstracts covers non-North America 1450 to the present (excluding the US/Canada, which are covered in America: History and Life, above).

  • Both allow coverage date limitations as well as publication date limitations, Can usually use LC terms, not always 

History of Science Technology and Medicine (HSTM) (1975- ) is a combo of  four separate indexes (from back in the all-print days) with four different subject term systems

  • sample search: eugenics AND race

  • can limit search terms to a particular era like "middle ages" or antiquity 

  • Unlike AHL and HA, the publications indexed here are specific to the history of science, technology, medicine and allied fields. 

PubMed is the major index of medical literature (1946- )  -- the first, best place for secondary sources on medicine.

  • Has its own subject terms, called MeSH terms  
  • sample search: eugenics AND race
  • MeSH search: eugenics AND race (of the MeSH terms for race, select "continental populations groups" and "race relations" but exclude "race factors." Results are more focused.

Coverage date limitations rather than publication date limitations, Can usually use LC terms, not always

Primary Sources

Primary Sources page of this guide: Kinds of Primary Sources

Outline of Primary Sources for History lists kinds of primary sources and offers links to sample HOLLIS searches and to information in the History and other research guides.

Periodical Articles


Digital Libraries

HathiTrust Digital Library includes a searchable database of digitized books and periodicals contributed by numerous libraries. Includes items contributed by these libraries to Google Books and to Internet Archive but with some unique material. Each full text item is linked to a standard library catalog record, thus providing good metadata. The catalog can be searched separately. Globally full text searchable, like Google Books and Internet Archive.

Medical Heritage Library  --  Biodiversity Heritage Library

Google Advanced: “Digital Collection” “Digital Library” or “Digital archive

Use contemporary language, personal names