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Expos 20 | Society and the Witch


This resource guide has been designed for students in Ricky Martin's Spring 2020 Expos course, Society and the Witch. 

The resources and strategies described on this page are specifically targeted: they represent our first best guesses at where you might find the information you'll need to execute Essay 3 successfully.

Remember that good research is often about following up on hunches, testing out a hypothesis and then seeing where else (or to what else) it leads. You may need to try several search combinations before you strike gold. 

Enjoy your research adventure!  

Sue Gilroy, Librarian for Undergraduate Writing Programs, Lamont Library, Room 210

SPECIAL NOTE: Harvard Librarians understand you're working under extraordinary circumstances and unusual pressure this semester. Wherever you are this term, we promise: we'll be there -- virtually -- to help you succeed. We'll meet you on Zoom for a consult, triage your questions by email, even chat with you 7 days a week. See below for details.

Serendipity and Strategy: Ways of Searching in HOLLIS


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


The broad and panoramic approach to searching HOLLIS can be mind-opening, but if you find yourself overwhelmed by either the numbers or types of results your search returns, try one of these options: 


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 




Use QUOTATION MARKS for phrases 

                    "united states"   ||  "witch hunts"

Connect search terms and phrases explicitly with AND/OR and do so with capital letters:  

"harry potter" AND heroism

Enclose synonyms or interchangeable concepts in PARENTHESES

(shaman OR "witch doctor") AND (tanzania OR  africa)

Truncate words with an ASTERISK to pick up alternatives: 

politic* will also retrieve  politics, political,  politician (etc.)

FILTER your results via right side limit categories. They'll help you sharpen up and whittle down your search results by date, language, resource type, to peer-reviewed articles, and more.

Take advantage of special system features: always sign in.


STORE the items you want to track down or read later via the    icon; SAVE a good search so you can remember what worked.

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!


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

 What does a Browse search give you? Click on the  image above to find out! 



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.



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 online content students can surface there is substantial. 

1. Search HOLLIS as you typically would (we give some advice on constructing effective search strings here). Results can then be limited, via the right-side filters, to materials ONLINE.

The limiter for online materials (like other filters) can be locked for the duration of your HOLLIS search session. ​When you apply the filter, it will, by default, look like this:    When locked, the icon color changes to blue: 

Locking filters is a useful option when you want to modify a search, do a completely new search, jump to a subject heading string,etc. You can mix and match locked and unlocked filters, too, as in this example: filters for language, onlline access, date, and resource type displayed, with 3 of the 4 locked


2.  Many publishers are opening up temporary, emergency access to a wide array of e-books, textbooks, and digital materials that fuel scholarship. Listed below are several that may have particular utility for students and faculty working on social science and interdisciplinary research projects, including those for Expos 20.

JSTOR E-books (30,000 books selected from academic presses)

Project Muse E-Books (a growing collection of temporarily free e-book and journal content, contributed by academic and university publishers)

University of Michigan E-Book Platform

HathiTrust Emergency Library: If we have it, and HathiTrust has a digitized copy, you'll be able to check it out, reserves-style. Presently, loan are given for 1 hour, renewable if there's no waiting list. The key here is be sure you click on the button, top right  and choose Harvard University.

 NOTE: Harvard Libraries do not, at present, subscribe to all of the e-book collections offering expanded, free access to their content. Access will most likely sometime between late-April and June 2020 (depending on the publisher).

Academic Search Premier: a Vista beyond HOLLIS

Academic Search Premier:  an excellent database to rummage around in after you've sampled what's available in Articles in HOLLIS.

Academic Search Premier is also multidisciplinary in its coverage, also provides you with a range of article types (some scholarly, some not).

But while still broad, it's a smaller universe than HOLLIS, and depending on your topic, searching in ASP may seem more manageable and targeted, and the results you get will likely be less unwieldy to work with. 


Subject Databases: Tools for Close Looking


While the panoramic or "wide gaze" approach to research can be good ways to help generate an interest or area of exploration,research projects often require you to look close up at a body of research produced by scholars in a particular field.  

This research is typically collected, codified, and made findable in a tool called a subject database.

Every academic discipline has at least one subject database that's considered the disciplinary gold standard -- a reliable, (relatively) comprehensive, and accurate record of the books that scholars are publishing, and the ideas they're debating and discussing in important and influential journals. 

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.


ATLA Religion Database: Produced by the American Theological Library Association, this is the premier database for accessing the scholarship published in major religion and theology journals. ATLA will also identify noteworthy books. Witchcraft in general and its sub-types (Santeria, Voodoo/Vodou, e.g.) are, for obvious reasons, well-covered there. 

Anthropology Plus: Considered the most comprehensive database of publications in anthropology and related disciplines issued from the mid-19th century to the present. Books, reports, journal articles, and other types of information are contained here. 

Social, cultural, physical, biological, and linguistic anthropology and archeology are represented.

AnthroSource:  A database that collects, codifies and makes searchable the articles from  journals and newsletters produced by the American Anthropological Association, the largest organization of anthropologists in the world. 

Left: Mask at an anti-witchcraft ceremony (Ouri, Burkina Faso), 1984.  Photograph by Christopher Roy. Image available via ArtStor



Women's Studies International

Wiccan priest (Getty images) 


America: History and Life: the premier database for historical scholarship in the United States and Canada, from prehistory to the present. 

Historical Abstracts: the premier database in world history, exclusive of the U.S. and Canada. Scholarship covers the periods from 1450 forward. 


Left: Woodcut featuring Matthew Hopkins, the most famous English witch hunter in the early 17th century. Here, he is featured with two witches calling out the names of their demons (familiars), represented by animals.  Some estimates suggest that between the years 1642 and 1646, Hopkins had more than 200 alleged witches in the East Anglia region tried and executed.  Click to enlarge the image.


MLA International Bibliography:  The most important academic database for deep searching of the scholarship produced about all periods of literature (and in all languages). It also has strong and substantial coverage of scholarship on film, popular culture, folklore,and film.  If a Literature Department teaches it, you'll find it covered here.

 Screen Studies CollectionA comprehensive survey of current publications related to film scholarship, theory, and criticism. This collection includes the specialist index FIAF International Index to Film Periodicals Database, a premier resource for film study globally. 

As in HOLLIS or Academic Search Premier, you can limit your results to peer-reviewed articles.

Tools for Locating Full-Text and Managing Your Sources

Google Scholar Settings: 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.

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:


Getting Research Help Fast --Wherever You Are



Sue Gilroy wants to hear from you! Send me an email, if you want to triage that way. We can also do a virtual consult on Zoom at a time that's good for you. I can flex -- so if you're in a distant time zone, let's see what we can do to make things 



Our library-wide email service is Ask-a-Librarian. You can send questions -- or appointment requests -- in through this channel, too: they'll make their way to me or to another library expert who'll be in touch to help, often within a few hours (and always by the next day).



From any HOLLIS page, or from the blue banner on the right-hand side of the Ask-a-Librarian page, you can initiate a chat session with a librarian on call. We've expanded our service hours to accommodate -- as we can -- time zones you may be working in.  Here's our schedule: 


9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. 


9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.


9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.


12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.