Welcome to Harvard's Libraries. Our extensive collections, print and electronic, await you. This research guide is a starting point for your exploration.

Please feel free to email with questions. We can make an appointment for you to come in, and we can talk at length about your project.

  • Emily Bell (emilybell@fas.harvard.edu) Research Librarian, Lamont Library
  • Fred Burchsted (burchst@fas.harvard.edu) Research Librarian and Liaison to the Department of History of Science, Widener Library

Library Information

Finding a pertinent book on the shelf and then looking at its neighbors is an excellent way of finding more material, because the call number system is also a subject system:  QH 30 means biographies of biologists and naturalists.

The Digital Scholarship Support Group offers faculty, students, and staff interested in incorporating digital methods into their teaching and research a single point of entry to the many resources available at Harvard.

How to Use Your Harvard Key to Get Online Articles for Free

Many of Harvard's library materials are located in Offsite storage. When HOLLIS "Location and Availability " indicates that a title is in Offsite storage, hit Request Item. After your Harvard Key there is a pull down menu allowing you to choose delivery location. Sometimes there is a single delivery option. Submit your request. You will receive an email usually in next business day (not weekends or holidays) morning.  Often the item is not actually ready for pick-up until mid-afternoon.  Sometimes Offsite storage material is in-library use only.  For Widener, this is the Phillips Reading Room (up the stairs in the Circulation Room).  Most Offsite storage material is available for scanning via Scan & Deliver (see below). 

The Harvard Direct system allows you to request that a book from one library be delivered to another or paged and brought to the circulation desk of the home library.  Hit Request item on the HOLLIS record for a book that is not checked out. Delivery takes 1-4 days.

If you have the citation to an article which is not available online or the pages or chapter (up to 30 pp.) from a book, Scan & Deliver will email you the pdf within 1-4 days. Hit Scan & Deliver on the HOLLIS record.  For an article in a journal or pages from a book not owned by Harvard, Interlibrary Loan will obtain scans: choose Request Article/Chapter under ILL Requests on your ILL page.

If a book is checked out or not owned by Harvard, you can probably get it within 1-4 days via Borrow Direct.  This is quicker than recalling it from the person who has it.

Interlibrary Loan will obtain, generally within 1 week-10 days, material not held by Harvard.  This includes books (for which try the quicker Borrow Direct first), DVDs, microfilm and other formats: choose Request Loan under ILL Requests on your ILL page.  ILL will also obtain scans of periodical articles and book chapters not available at Harvard: choose Request Article/Chapter under ILL Requests on your ILL page.  This takes only 1-4 days. Use WorldCat to verify references for InterLibrary Loan. Give them the Accession no. at the bottom of the WorldCat record in the OCLC field of the ILL request form.

Submit a purchase request (link also exists on the main HOLLIS page). If it is a very new book, we may have received it, but it is not in HOLLIS yet.


Fred Burchsted, Research Librarian in Services for Academic Programs, Widener Library, and Library Liaison to the Departments of History and the History of Science, burchst@fas.harvard.edu, 617-495-4093.

Susan Gilroy, Research Librarian in Services for Academic Programs, Widener Library, and Library Liaison to the Departments of Social Policy and Social Studies, sgilroy@fas.harvard.edu, 617-496-5403.

Kathleen Sheehan, Research Librarian in Services for Academic Programs, Widener Library, and Library Liaison to the Departments of Government and Sociology, ksheehan@fas.harvard.edu, 617-384-8089.

Diane Sredl, Data Reference Librarian, Lamont Library, govdocs@fas.harvard.edu, 617-496-6936.

Svetlana Rukhelman, Davis Center Librarian srukhelm@fas.harvard.edu

Hugh Truslow. Slavic language government information and data. truslow@fas.harvard.edu

Baker Library – Harvard Business School
--Research Guides
--Research Assistance
--Historical Collections

Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies Collection

Harvard Kennedy School Library
--All HKS Library Subject and How To Guides
--Research Help

Law School Library
--Ask a Librarian
--Research Guides
--Research Consult Request Form

  • Check Harvard Library Bookmark This browser extension recognizes citations and tries to find them in Harvard Library holdings. 
  • Lean Library Similar to Check Harvard Library Bookmark, though they function a little differently. Experiment to see if what works for you.
  • Browzine This app enables easy reading and browsing of journals and lets you set alerts. (It doesn't include every subscription we have; so far, nothing does that).
  • Google Scholar Settings Search for "Harvard University - Try Harvard Library" to see the "Try Harvard Library" button within Google Scholar search results.

*If the above tools don't find the full text, it's worth searching in HOLLIS, (by journal title if article title doesn't work).

Other tools:

  • Statistics and Data-Harvard and Harvard Library have many data management tools, groups and options. Check out our Data Librarian's guide to statisicts and data (not just for beginners), which leads to other resources. We also have some resources listed on the Statistics/Data page of this guide. There are other HL resources for acquiring, managing and using data. If you don't see what you need, Ask us!
  • Citation and Research Management Tools see the Citing Sources and Organizing Research page in this guide