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Requesting Materials from Schlesinger Library

Requesting with HOLLIS for Archival Discovery

Please read through the steps below or view the how-to video at the bottom of the page.


HOLLIS for Archival Discovery: a catalog of finding aids for materials housed at Harvard's special collections and archives

HOLLIS Special Request: an online account, available to all researchers (Harvard affiliated and non-Harvard affiliated), for requesting materials from Harvard’s archives & special collections libraries

Steps to Request Using Finding Aids

  1. From the HOLLIS for Archival Discovery home page, search for the collection you would like to view.
  2. From the collection page, choose the "Collection Inventory" tab in the top navigation menu.
  3. Request the materials you would like to view at the item level by clicking the “Add to My Request List” button to the right of the item title.  
    1. TIP: When you request an item from one container (e.g. a box or carton), we will deliver the entire container to you in the Reading Room. Therefore, you do not need to place a request for every item you would like to access from within the same container.
    2. NOTE: Because a series or sub-series can span a large number of containers, do not make your request at the series or sub-series level. Requests made at the series or sub-series level will be cancelled because a series is made up of many boxes. To ensure you receive exactly what you need to review, we ask that you place requests at the item/folder level.
  4. Once you have selected all the items you would like to access, click on the "Request" menu in the top-right corner of the webpage, and click “My Request List” in the drop-down menu.
  5. On the "My Request List" page, review your requests. When you are ready to submit your requests, scroll to the bottom of the page and review your request options.  
    1. Reading Room Requests: To access your requested material in the Schlesinger Library Reading room, choose "Reading Room" from the "Type of request" drop-down menu. If you would like to save the request for the future, choose "Save for Later."
      1.  Choose the date of your visit. To learn more about Schlesinger Library's hours, please visit the Planning a Visit guide.
    2. Copy Requests: To request a scanned copy of the material, choose “Copy” from the "Type of request" drop-down menu. If you are requesting the scans for reference, choose “Reference copy” from the “Select format” field drop-down menu. If you are requesting a copy for publication, choose “Publication-quality copy” from the “Select format” field drop-down menu and check the “Yes, this item will be used in publication” box.
      1. Please review the Requesting Copies Guide for detailed information about scan limits, restrictions, and anticipated timelines.
        1. For reference copy requests, we can offer up to 5 folders not to exceed 250 pages of manuscript material; 20% of a copyrighted work.  
        2. We will be in touch if you request copies of closed, fragile or otherwise restricted materials.
      2. NOTE: The Library does not provide hard copies of scanned material. You should always choose “Online Delivery” from the “Pickup or delivery” drop-down menu.
    3. You are welcome to make notes in the "Instructions or questions" text box. However, the best way to get in contact with a Schlesinger Librarian is through our Ask a Librarian web form.
      1. Research Teams: To best prepare the material for all visitors in advance, please note the names of your research partners in the “Instructions or questions" field of your request before submitting.
  6. Finally, click "Submit." If you are not yet logged in to your HOLLIS Special Request account, choose to log in or register for an account.
  7. Once you have logged in, the requests are submitted. Reading Room requests will appear under the “Outstanding Requests” section of your HOLLIS Special Request account. Copy requests will appear in your list of “Outstanding Copy Orders” in your HOLLIS Special Request account. If you chose to save your requests for later, the requests will appear under the "Saved Requests" section of you HOLLIS Special Request account.

Requesting with HOLLIS for Archival Discovery: How-To Video