Databases are often necessary complements to HOLLIS. These special search tools -- organized around an academic discipline (like anthropology or literature), an area of the world (like Africa or the U.S.), or a particular information type (statistics or newspapers, for example) -- give you consistent and deep (rather than scattered) access to a body of knowledge.
You can think of library databases as premium online content -- most of it is not accessible to you freely from Google (or Google Scholar) and it's only available to you because of your association with Harvard, which pays subscription fees on your behalf.
The contents of any library database are never random or accidental: the material you find collected and made searchable there is chosen for inclusion by experts, and designed with the needs of scholars and researchers in mind.
Databases are like lenses: they change what you see and how you see it -- and they offer you easy and efficient ways to bring your questions into sharper focus.
When HOLLIS seems too big but you're just exploring, the advantage of ASP is that it's a multidisciplinary, current, and gives you a range of info types: news, magazines, scholarship. It's part of larger "ecosystem" as well: so exploit it for additional leads.
Put this resource in the research toolkit you're starting to assemble for yourself: it will be handy for lots of academic projects you'll undertake here. OBOs are selective (not comprehensive) reading lists, put together and annotated by scholars, and they are regularly reviewed and when necessary, updated. Often the situation you face in information seeking isn't a lack of resources, but rather, knowing what to prioritize in your reading, and which scholars have done most to push the research conversation forward. OBO helps you listen in.
Examples of entries that might be useful for Eating Culture:
This free, open source citation management tool makes the process of collecting and organizing citations, incorporating them into your paper, and creating a bibliography or works cited page stress-free and nearly effortless.
A good guide, produced by Harvard librarians, is available here: http://guides.library.harvard.edu/zotero.