Within HOLLIS for Archival Discovery, you have multiple ways to find nearly 7,000 finding aids and collection guides. The home page features a basic search feature as well as options for browsing. 

Screenshot of HOLLIS for Archival Discovery home page

You can browse finding aids using the options in the upper right-hand corner of the screen: Repositories, Collections, and Digital Materials. 

Screenshot of HOLLIS for Archival Discovery Browse drop down menu upper left of screen.

  • Repositories: browse a list of the 31 repositories that have finding aids in HOLLIS for Archival Discovery. Click on a repository name for contact information. 
    • "What's in this Repository" links to a list of the repository's finding aids
    • Use the search box at the bottom of the screen to search within the repository's finding aids
  • Collections: browse a list of all of the finding aids in HOLLIS for Archival Discovery
  • Digital Materials: browse a list of all digital materials available via HOLLIS for Archival Discovery

You can click HOLLIS for Archival Discovery in the upper left corner of every screen to return to the homepage at any time or select Search from the options in the upper right.

Basic Search

The home page offers several options for searching. Using the main search box, enter words or phrases.

  • Enter Esther Peterson letters for results that contain all of these words.
  • Enter Esther OR Peterson OR Letters for results that contain any these words.
  • Enter “Esther Peterson letters” for results that contain this exact phrase.

Esther Peterson letters has been typed into the HOLLIS for Archival Discovery search box and is surrounded by quotes.

Refine your search by using the fields below the text box to limit by type of record (all records, collections, digital materials), finding aid field (title, creator, notes, identifier), and date.

LIMIT menu has been expanded to show drop down choices: All record types, Limit collections, and Limit digital materials.The Limit by Field menu has been expanded to show the following options for limiting by field: keyword, title, creator, notes, and identifier.

The default search All record types will retrieve both collection- and item-level records. You may Limit collections to retrieve only collection-level results. Limit digital materials will search for material accessible online. Please note that some of this content may only be available to the Harvard community or on campus.


Pro tip: HOLLIS for Archival Discovery searches for the exact string of characters entered. If you are looking for text that may be part of a longer string, use the wildcard * in your search.