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Expos 20 | Humans, Nature, and the Environment



This resource guide has been designed for students in Martin Greenup's Spring 2020 Expos course, Humans, Nature, and the Environment

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. 

Let me know how I can help as your work on Essay 3 gets underway (see ways to reach me here).

Enjoy your research adventure!  

Sue Gilroy, Librarian for Undergraduate Writing Programs, Lamont Library

Above: Dawn Brancheau performing at SeaWorld on December 30 2005, five years before she was killedCREDIT: ORLANDO SENTINEL / JULIE FLETCHER/AP

Searching Panoramically in HOLLIS and Academic Search Premier




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 search results set just to    using the right side filters.

Your numbers will immediately get smaller; you'll eliminate a lot that might be pertinent in print, but you'll raise the visibility of what you have access to in full-text (crucial during the pandemic).


Remember to LOCK YOUR FILTERS (click on the padlock) once you apply them, so they''ll remain active during your entire search session). 


Limit your search results set to items that are 


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. 


Remember to LOCK YOUR FILTER (click on the padlock) once you apply them, so they''ll remain active during your entire search session). 



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).






1. Use   quotation marks " "    for phrases

​     "grizzly bear"   ||  "killer whale"

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

​     anthropomorphism AND nature AND documentary

3. Enclose synonyms or interchangeable concepts in  parentheses  

     (orca OR whale OR blackfish) AND captivity

 4. Truncate words with an  asterisk  to pick up alternatives: 

environment* will also retrieve  environments, environmental, environmentally,  environmentalist (etc.)

5.   Limit your results using one or more  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.

6. Take advantage of special system features:  always sign in .

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



Academic Search Premier

 This database is an excellent next step after you've sampled what's available in HOLLIS.

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

But while still broad, it's a smaller universe than HOLLIS. Depending on your topic, in fact, searching in ASP may even be a more efficient route to quality information, simply because it will deliver a more manageable result set.

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. 

The ones listed here for Film Studies, Philosophy, and Environment are the "gold standards" for finding research in the fields they cover. 

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.



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.

Film and Television Literature: Compiles information from 600+ publications, including many scholarly ones, on the full spectrum of topics germane to the study of both the big and small screens.

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

ProQuest Screen Studies Collection

This database provides deep and authoritative coverage of the key American, British, and international  publications related to film scholarship.  


Philosopher's Index:  probably useful for research on human-animal relationships, questions of ethics, etc. 


Environment Index: probably useful for issues of animal behaviors in the wild and in captivity.

Websites of Interest


The Truth about Blackfish: a page from  the SeaWorld Cares site, which argued that the film is propaganda, not documentary. In its efforts to protect SeaWorld brand, the company identitied 69 Reasons You Shouldn't Believe Blackfish 

Grizzly People: website of non-profit founded by Treadwell; contains information, links, a tribute to Treadwell,  and some of his wildlife footage. 

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 home 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 work. 



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. 

 NOTE:   Sue is on chat 4-5 p.m. each Monday and 7-9 p.m. on Wednesdays


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.

  NOTE  Sue is on chat each Sunday, 7-9 p.m.