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," you pull results from both of these databases at the same time. 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.
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).
When an article you need is available in a print journal at Harvard but not online, you can ask us to make a PDF for you through a service called Scan and Deliver.
We'll send you an email when it's ready for downloading, typically between 1 and 4 days after you place the request. Scan and Deliver is a free service to Harvard affiliates.
Scan and Deliver is also an option if you want up to two chapters of any Harvard-owned book digitized for your use.
NOTE: Initiate Scan and Deliver requests through HOLLIS.
What should you do if a book you find in HOLLIS and want to use is:
In every one of these cases, open the full item record and look for the BORROW DIRECT option toward the bottom of the screen (under the GET IT information and just before the call number). Follow the prompts from there.
We'll get a copy of the book for you, within 4 days, from another university library.
If the item is "in process" we'll expedite the process of getting the book ready for use and you'll be quickly notified by email.
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.
A great next step when HOLLIS seems too big and roomy on your first pass through. Because it's much smaller than HOLLIS in what includes, it can sometimes reveal some starter sources quickly and clearly. Like HOLLIS it's multidisciplinary; it mixes news coverage, magazine stories, scholarly articles, and some book reviews.
NOTE: you made need to limit your search results to make the scholarly content more immediately visible.
This database is a gold standard for women's studies and topics related to gender and sexuality more broadly.
If you will be writing on a film, a work of fiction, poetry, or drama in any modern language, or a popular culture topic, be sure to supplement your HOLLIS search with one in this database.
You won't have to worry about "non-scholarly" materials here. Articles that aren't available in full-text should have a "Try Harvard Library" options. Books and book chapters may not -- but a HOLLIS search for these materials is the step to take.
Excellent for film and television-related topics and worth "shopping in" alongside HOLLIS.
Great for studies of mass media in its many forms -- including social media.
In your time at Harvard, you'll hear more than one librarian suggest that you use Zotero, a "citation management tool." Zotero will be great for big projects that require you to keep track of many sources -- like junior tutorials and senior theses (if you end up writing one).
In the meantime, we recommend you generate citations with ZoteroBib.
It's more reliable than the internal HOLLIS citation generator and you don't need an account or special software to use it. Some of its handy features are described on this page.
Next semester, or next year, you might want to graduate into using Zotero itself. It will take the process of collecting and organizing sources and incorporating footnotes or in-text citations to the next level.
A good guide, if you're interested, is available here: https://guides.library.harvard.edu/zotero