Contexts and Starting Points

Oxford Bibliographies Online

OBOs combine the best features of the annotated bibliography with an authoritative subject encyclopedia. They aim to help you identify some of the most important and influential scholarship on a broad social, political, cultural or interdisciplinary disciplinary topic. They're regularly updated to remain current.

Often the issue in information-seeking isn't scarcity of material but overabundance. OBO entries can help you solve the problem of knowing what or who to read or which voices in the conversation you should give some fuller attention to.

Examples of entries appropriate to course themes include:

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  • Titles of the books, articles, journals and other materials referenced in an OBO entry should be entered into HOLLIS to determine their availability at Harvard. 

 

 

 

Since 1932,the Annual Reviews series has offered authoritative syntheses of the primary research literature in 46 academic fields, including political sciencesociology, and anthropology.

The comprehensive critical review not only summarizes a topic but also roots out errors of fact or concept and provokes discussion that will lead to new research activity. 

And a search of Annual Reviews can therefore help you easily identify—and contextualize—the principal contributions that have been made in your field.

The advanced search screen  offers excellent search tips, including ways select certain AR titles or limit to particular disciplines and narrow by date.  

 


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 If you find a review that seems on point, but rather dated (10 years or so), try searching for it (or one of the authorities it cites) in Google Scholar. Then follow the “cited by” links. You may discover something more recent there.

 

UNESCO: Protecting Our Heritage

Links to  international cultural heritage treaties, and national cultural heritage laws, as well as pages dedicated to such topics as Illicit Traffic of Cultural Properties;  Underwater Cultural Heritage; and  Armed Conflict and Heritage.  A special section, called Museums Under Threat, profiles Iraq and Syria

Image: A damaged museum in Aleppo, Syria. ©UNESCO/Prof. Abdulkarim

 

SAFE (Saving Antiquites FOR Everyone)

Founded in April 2003, in the wake of the ransacking of the National Museum of Iraq, SAFE's mission is to raise public awareness of the devastating effects of antiquities looting.

SAFE focuses specifically objects more than 100 years old that have been unscientifically removed from monuments or archaeological sites.

Serendipity and Strategy: Searching HOLLIS

 

USING HOLLIS WELL: THREE CONSIDERATIONS

 

1.  Understand what it is.

HOLLIS 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. 

 

When you search "everything"  searching both of these databases together, at once. For better or for worse, "everything" is our system default. 

 

2. Know how to work it.

Creating search strings with some of the techniques below can help you get better results up front. 

 

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3. Take control of your results.

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:

 

Limit your Everything search results set just to the items listed in the LIBRARY CATALOG.

Your numbers will immediately get smaller. Keep in mind, though, that the results will be heavily weighted toward book-length studies.

 

Limit your Everything search results set to items that are identified as PEER REVIEWED ARTICLES.

You'll eliminate newspaper and magazine materials as well as books, of course, but you'll also raise the visibility of scholarly journal articles in what displays. 

 

Think about limiting your results to publications from the last 5, 10, 15, or 20 years.

By doing so you'll get a snapshot of the most recent research trends and scholarly approaches in a field (or around a particular issue).


Experiment with limiting your searches to materials available  
You'll reduce your numbers of books by a wide margin, not often a good strategy, but an expedient one in exigent circumstances.  Learn more about strategies under the Pandemic Considerations tab. 

 

 
 
 

 

Your "default" approach to searching Harvard's catalog, HOLLIS, is probably similar to your Google approach: enter some words, see what comes up, then try again or improve from there. 

But BROWSING in the catalog is an under-appreciated research strategy, especially when you're trying to discover your interest. It helps you see how writing ABOUT an author, an idea, an event, etc. has been broken down and categorized. So instead of getting the typical list of titles, you see results in terms of sub-topics. Inspiration may lie there!


HOW DO YOU BROWSE? 

Open HOLLIS. Click on the  link above the search box. Then select SUBJECT. 

Examples of subject terms related to course themes:

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TRANSFERABLE KNOWLEDGE TIP:  Words Always Matter

Browsing subject headings lists can teach you a lot about searching, because they rely on standardized language and standard ways of qualifying or further describing a give subject.  For example, these additional words may relate to a subject's geography (united states, massachusetts, canada, etc), or  the time period that's under discussion in a book (19th century, or 2lst century). Sometimes, a specific marker of the type of information is also included in a subject heading, like statistics; legislation; handbooks; case studies; etc.).

 

RESOURCES IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS

Despite the fact that our physical items are unavailable and buildings are shuttered, HOLLIS can and should continue to be a key research resource, wherever students are.  That's in part because of the sheer size and enormous variety of what it contains, but also because the content students can surface there is substantial.  

Here are some ways to think through your digital options in HOLLIS

1. Scan & Deliver

This service, free to Harvard students even before the pandemic, can be a lifesaver when you find something in the catalog that's essential -- but only available in print.

Scan & Deliver allows you to request a PDF of an article, a portion of a book (and now, a portion of a special collection, under some circumstances). Just remember that the library staff  responsible for this service are returning to campus slowly, so the response time (usually within 4 days) may be delayed.

NOTE: Initiate Scan and Deliver requests through HOLLIS.


2. Hathi Trust Temporary Emergency Access Library 

IHathiTrust has a digitized copy, you'll be able to check it out, reserves-style. Presently, loans are given for 1 hour, automatically renewable if there's no waiting list for the item you're using.

Hathi Trust materials can't be downloaded or printed out (when they're in copyright), but the upside is that you'll have excellent access to our collection in print, even when you can't use the print. 

Normally, your access to HathiTrust items is seamless via Harvard; when you see the record details, click on the   link to initiate check out.

NOTE: If you go directly into HathiTrust through the link above, be sure you click on the button, top right  and choose Harvard University.


3. Internet Archive Open Library

For books not available online via a HOLLIS link or through HathiTrust, the Open Library may be a good next step. You'll need to create a free account to "check out" books (temporarily, for up to 2 weeks).  


4. Lamont West Door Pickup (if you're in / near Cambridge)

Materials that are available for checkout are requested online via HOLLIS; they are paged for you by library staff. When they are ready, you receive an email directing you to schedule a pick up time (15-minutes windows, as available)

 

 

When you're far from Cambridge, identifying books in print and on shelves in Harvard's library buildings can seem like a futile exercise. You can, however, often get your hands on items your find in HOLLIS even if you live many miles away from the Yard.


SOME OPTIONS TO CONSIDER

1.  WorldCatthis is a database of library catalogs and useful for identifying college, university, and other  library collections that are in your vicinity.  Search for the title and then enter your ZIPCODE to identify your options.


With WorldCat, you're going beyond the BorrowDirect consortium and beyond our reciprocal lending agreements.  However, as long as any of the area libraries allow you in (often a phone call or a scan of the website will clarify policy), you'll be in luck!


2. Check the catalog of the large PUBLIC LIBRARY in your area.  Depending on the region, the size of the library, its mission, and its funding, a local public library may have a significant research component to its collection (The Boston Public Library at Copley Square is a prime example), including e-books and some digitized materials that Harvard may not have.

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.

Moreover, because you are a Harvard student, you're eligible for a BPL ecard, no matter where you're Zooming in from these days; you'll need to sign in with your Harvard email and key to get access, however. See BPL: Who's Eligible for an Ecard? for the registration link.

 

3. Ask your local library about an INTERLIBRARY LOAN.  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. 


5. If you live close by the college or university from which you graduated, ask about ALUMNI PRIVILEGES there; even in COVID times, it's good to check on your options.

Scholarly Research Databases

 

A database that samples scholarship if fields from anthropology and zoology, and everything in between. When you're not sure where the scholarly conversation is (or if you've exhausted your HOLLIS search options, ASP is probably your next best step.

ASP also provides you with well-calibrated mix of article types (some scholarly, some journalistic, and some drawn from popular general interest magazines, like the the Economist,  the Atlantic, and the New Yorker). 


Google Scholar 

Most of the research databases you use through the Harvard Library  search for information differently than Google Scholar.  Most base their results lists on "metadata" -- the descriptive information about items that identifies features  in certain fields (title, author,  table of contents, subject terms, etc.). 

While Google Scholar's algorithms account for some of this same information, it adds full-text into the mix when it retrieves, sorts, and ranks search results.

What does this mean for you? Sometimes, better relevance, especially on the first page or so. 

And sometimes, given that it searches full-text, Google Scholar might reveal more quickly than our databases where a hard-to-find nugget of scholarly information is hidden away in a published article.

Google Scholar can also be a good place to do a "cited reference" search in order to trace scholarly reaction to/engagement a particular article forward in time. 

 

Other resources, by student interest

 

ENDANGERED LANGUAGES (see also Anthro, Psyc, Soc above)

 

Ethnologue: Languages of the World

Linguistics and Language Behavior Abstracts

MLA International Bibliography

 

FOLKLORE AND STORYTELLING (see also Anthro, Psyc, Soc above)

 

MLA International Bibliography

 


IGOs and NGOs

 

IGO Custom Search Engine (UN, UNESCO, etc.)

NGO Custom Search Engine (good for topics related to cultural heritage, intangible heritage,  place preservation; conflict, etc.)


 
LOWELL HOUSE  BELLS

 

Harvard Crimson 

Harvard Magazine 

General Information on the Lowell House Bells [contact the Archives to see about scanning: archives

 


MUSEUM ISSUES 

 

See MUSE E-102 Library Research Guide

 


NORTHERN IRELAND MEMORIAL GARDENS

 

Talking stones : the politics of memorialization in post-conflct  Northern Ireland

Resisting Memory: The Politics of Memorialisation in Post-Conflict Northern Ireland

 


SPACE LAW/ARCHAEOLOGY

 

Archaeology of Space Exploration (Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of the Contemporary World)

McGill Institute of Air and Space Law Publications

 

 

Cultural Heritage Protection Agencies Online

 

The International Council of Museums has been publishing its red list since 2000. A Red List is not an inventory of actual stolen objects. The cultural goods on a Red List have all been inventoried. They serve to illustrate the categories of cultural goods most vulnerable to illicit traffic. Red Lists  help individuals, organizations and authorities, such as police or customs officials, identify objects at risk and prevent them from being illegally sold or exported.

A Glasgow-based, interdisciplinary research consortium that aims to understand the illicit global trade in cultural objects, and define an evidence base for effective policy interventions. Researchers combine archeological, artistic, and criminological expertise to promote effective cultural heritage protection.  

As well as being a repository of members' published academic research and a clearinghouse for several ongoing academic projects, Trafficking Culture has created an Encyclopedia, its preliminary source of case studies of the illicit trade in cultural objects. Each entry synthesizes information taken from reliable sources, and presents a bibliography of primary publications to facilitate further research.

The United States Committee of the Blue Shield was formed in 2006, in response to heritage catastrophes around the world. The name, Blue Shield, comes from the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, which specifies a blue shield as the symbol for marking protected cultural property. Special features of this site include a Timeline of the History of Protection of Cultural Property and an extensive list of resources (bibliography, news archives, policy, law, and treaties). 

 

 

 

 

A non-profit established in 1997 to spur restitution  of art work seized, confiscated, or wrongfully taken — on a massive scale — as a result of the policies of the Third Reich and the devastation of the Holocaust.  historical research and educational initiatives, and assists with collecting and publicizing information pertaining to formerly Jewish-owned art collections and persecuted Jewish artists. CAR works for the benefit of both the academic community and the non-specialist audience, to bring clarity as to what was looted and lost, and to commemorate pre-war Jewish collections and artists’ work.

An extensive list of resources is listed under the Databases link. 

Tools for Managing Research

 

One simple change can turn Google Scholar into what's effectively a Harvard database -- with links to the full-text of articles that the library can provide. Here's what to do:  Look to the left of the GS screen and click on the "hamburger" (); then click on .  Look for "Library Links."  Then type Harvard University into the search box and save your choice.  As long as you allow cookies, the settings will keep.  


Lean Library: a browser plugin that (nearly always) identifies digital availability of items at Harvard and runs automatically as you search books and articles.  

 


 Zoteroa free, open source citation management tool will take the process of collecting and organizing citations, incorporating them into your paper, and creating a bibliography or works cited page to the next level. 

It's worth the small investment of time to learn Zotero.  A good guide, produced by Harvard librarians, is available here: http://guides.library.harvard.edu/zotero.