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:
Creating search strings with some of the techniques below can help you get better results up front.
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
Limit your search results set to items that are identified as PEER REVIEWED ARTICLES.
Think about limiting your results to publications from the last 5, 10, 15, or 20 years.
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.
When you're far from Cambridge, identifying books in print and on shelves in Harvard's library buildings can seem like a futile exercise.
Even if you live many miles away from the Yard, however, you can often track a copy down closer to home.
Search for the title and then enter your ZIPCODE to identify potential options. You'll need to follow up about possible access, but a phone call can often do the trick!
Public libraries large and small also have access to ebooks, and can be a rich alternative source if Harvard doesn't have what you need or you can't get to our copy.
Libraries routinely borrow from each other on behalf of their patrons; if you have a library card, you should be able to request it (or have a librarian do so). ILL can take a bit of time, however. You might wait a week or a bit more before the item arrives. Some places charge a small fee for the service.