Relevant Databases


  • "Database" is used here as a catch-all term for any online system that allows you to search structured data.

  • The categories are similarly loose: the databases are listed according to the purpose that I think you're most likely to have in mind when turning to them. 

  • The notes provided here are by no means complete: they're intended to supplement the "More Info" tab that appears for each database when you search the Databases list.

Browse on your own

Search the database list for anything with nineteenth OR 19th OR 18th OR eighteenth OR romantic* in its description.

Full-text: primary and mixed primary-secondary


Libraries' answer to GoogleBooks, complete with a robust catalog record for each book. Log in with your HarvardKey for better downloading privileges. You will not be able to view in-copyright material BUT, unlike Google Books, keyword hits will be accurate. (Meaning, if the search results say your terms appear on pages 5, 23, and 572, you can be pretty confident that those are correct and also the only pages your terms appear on.)


Black-box search and very little catalog info, but a great way to turn up recent scholarship and out-of-print books you might not otherwise come across. 


A nicely curated collection of scholarly journals, from their very first issue. Not great for exploring the latest scholarship, as most recent 1-5 years are often excluded. Harvard subscribes to all of JSTOR's journal content.

Digitized materials from European libraries, museums, etc. A bit of a grab-bag, but a great way to explore across European collections.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO)

Huge collection of digitized c18 material, based on the English Short Title Catalog. Largely books and pamplets. As with any digitized material, searching will be only about 80% accurate. 

Eighteenth Century Journals

Nineteenth Century Collections Online

A huge and varied set of materials, organized into 12 "archives." Because the materials are so varied (published documents, manuscripts, catalog cards, etc.), you'll have much more search success if you spend a little time learning about the sub-collections and the kinds of materials they include. Experiment with searching within individual collections as well as across an entire archive or even the entire database.

Literature Online (Texts)

Full text of authoritative editions of a wide range of anglophone literary works .

Past Masters

Full text of authoritative editions of major philosophers' writings.

Oxford Scholarly Editions Online

Romantic Era Redefined

Fully searchable Pickering & Chatto critical editions of Romantic-era texts.

Romanticism: Life, Literature and Landscape

Digitized archival collections, mostly from The Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere.

Full-text: secondary only

Google Scholar

Black-box search of a machine-harvested index.  If you have the LibX plug-in installed on your browser, you'll be able to link easily from the citations to library-licensed full text.

Project Muse

A nicely curated selection of scholarly publications on the model of JSTOR, but there are no embargoes on recent issues, and Harvard has licensed the books as well as the journals. 

Cambridge Core

All of Cambridge University Press's online content in one somewhat confusing place. You can search across all content; Harvard has licensed your access to many of the journals, some of the books, and all of Cambridge Companions and Cambridge Histories. If you want to search within specific collections, start from on "what we publish" (an option in the top nav bar). If you see "get access" even when you are logged in (i.e. you see "" in the url bar), then Harvard doesn't subscribe to that item via Cambridge Core. Search for it in HOLLIS+ instead.

University Press Scholarship Online

Harvard has licensed some but not all of the collections. Our license does include a lot of Oxford University Press content.


A complement to Philosopher's Index. Includes pre-prints.



The library's main search interface. Note the different tabs. When simply trying to track down a copy of something, use the "everything" tab, which includes a lot, but by no means everything. The HOLLIS tab is best for exploring Harvard's collections, including c18-19 materials. (For more about the tabs, see the handout on the "Research Methods" page of this guide.)

N.b. there is also a legacy catalog interface called HOLLIS Classic. It searches a subset of what you find in the HOLLIS tab of HOLLIS+, offers left-anchored search, more precision, and more advanced search options. If you use Classic, beware that it will be phased out at some point in 2018. (And please contact me to tell me about functionality you find in Classic but not in HOLLIS+, so that I can communicate that to the team that's working on making HOLLIS+ serve everyone's needs!)

MLA International Bibliography and Literature Online (Criticism)

These are the two major indexes for literary scholarship. The MLA is produced in the US and is international in scope. ABELL (the index included in Literature Online Criticism) is produced in the UK and focuses on anglophone literature. N.b.: for books in the MLA Bibliography, and for almost all citations in LION, you will need to conduct your own search to get to a copy of the item. If you have LibX installed, you can simply highlight the title and right-click to search HOLLIS+. Otherwise, copy and paste into HOLLIS+.

Philosopher's Index

Historical Abstracts

Scholarship about history since 1450. Excludes the U.S. and Canada, for which you need to search the complementary index America: History and Life.  

WorldCat (First Search)

You may be familiar with the public-facing First Search is a clunkier-looked licensed interface to the same data that provides much more search precision and more results information.

Nineteenth Century Masterfile

Cross-search of several important indexes, including Poole's Index to Periodical Literature.

English Short Title Catalog (ESTC) & Nineteenth Century Short Title Catalog

ESTC is specific to works published in England or its dependencies and covers 1473-1800. The c19 STC covers the U.S. and British Empire, 1801-1919.


See "find context" on the guide to Literary Research in Harvard Libraries for recommendations. As noted on the "close reading" page, Harvard also licenses online access to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).