HOLLIS and WorldCat

Two Versions of HOLLIS

We have two online catalogs  (HOLLIS+, and HOLLIS Classic). It’s worth getting to know both of them.

HOLLIS+ and HOLLIS Classic share many great features, including:

  • Phrase searching (searching for multiple words as a phrase, by putting them in quotation marks)
  • Subject, title, author, and call number browsing (described below)
  • Non-Roman character searching
  • Easy exports of citations
  • Access to library account (renewing books, etc.)
  • Use of Boolean operators

In addition, HOLLIS+ includes:

  • Virtual browse (see what books would be next to each other across our collections)
  • The option to filter results to items that are “Not checked out” - updated 3 times per day
  • Tables of Contents of many books and journals
  • Easy options to refine searches (facets) by publication date, format, subject, author, language, location, etc.
  • Searching across books AND articles
  • Finding aids from OASIS
  • Visual image data from VIA and other image databases

Subject Searching:
To do a systematic topic search in HOLLIS, search any reasonable keywords, choose pertinent records, and look at the Subject terms. These are terms chosen by the Library of Congress to express the subject matter of the book. Once you find the proper term for your topic, redo the search using that term. For example, the LC term for shell shock is "War neuroses"

The Library of Congress subject system is complex, and often there will be several pertinent Subject terms. For example, as well as Iraq the following Subject terms apply:
Cultural pluralism -- India
India -- Ethnic relations
India -- History -- 20th century
India -- History -- 1947-
India -- History -- British occupation, 1765-1947
India -- Politics and government -- 1765-1947
Islam and politics -- India
Islam and state -- India
Nationalists -- India
Social classes -- India
Women -- India -- Social conditions
Women -- Legal status, laws, etc. -- India

Subject Browsing:
In HOLLIS, if you go to Browse HOLLIS by, and enter India History" in the basic search screen as By Subject, you will retrieve the Subject "India History" broken down to show various aspects. This is often very useful.

Primary Source Terms:
Several of these added terms (called subdivisions) indicate primary sources:
--Description and travel
--Notebooks, sketchbooks, etc.
--Personal narratives (refers to accounts of wars and diseases only)
--Sources (usually refers to collections of published primary sources)
e.g., Wilson, Woodrow, 1856-1924 -- Manuscripts -- Indexes.
Note: Do not enter hyphens (--) into HOLLIS or HOLLIS Classic keyword searches.

Scanning the Shelves Online
Books on the shelf can be browsed remotely using HOLLIS. Browsing the actual shelves allows you to dip into books and immediately gauge their value. You will, however, miss any books that are checked out or in the Harvard Depository. You can often browse these too, although you cannot dip, by using the call number browse. If you go to Browse HOLLIS by, adjust the menu to Library of Congress Call numbers or Other Call Number (which includes Widener call numbers), you can enter a call number and browse the shelves online.

Find the call numbers for your search by doing keyword searches or subject browses and noting the call numbers for appropriate items.

The Library of Congress Classification is available online.

If Harvard Doesn't Have It

  • Look in Borrow Direct (See Getting What You Need).
  • If not in Borrow Direct, look in WorldCat (below), and submit an Interlibrary Loan request
  • When in WorldCat, find the Series field on the WorldCat record. If your book is a volume in a series, Harvard may own the whole series and have one HOLLIS record for the series, rather than a record for each volume
  • If pre-1923, look in HathiTrust, Google Books and Internet Archive.
  • Submit a purchase request in HOLLIS. If it is a very new book, we may have received it, but it is not in HOLLIS yet.


For material not available at Harvard, search in: WorldCat (the OCLC Union Catalog) which includes catalog records from over 45,000 libraries worldwide but largely U.S. Includes books, periodicals, archives and manuscripts, maps, videotapes, computer readable files, etc. Includes Boston-area libraries.

Importance of WorldCat:

  • 1. Subject searching beyond Harvard. For periodicals: Advanced search. Document type-Serial Publications
  • 2. Clues for finding items in the HOLLIS Catalog, e.g., volumes in monograph series for which HOLLIS has only one record for the whole series.
  • 3. Finding non-Harvard books in Boston-area libraries.
  • 4. Verifying references for InterLibrary Loan. Give them the Accession no. at the bottom of the record.