Getting Answers and Finding Experts: Seven Easy Ways to Engage With Us


1. Contact the Subject Expert(s) for your project

Every Harvard academic department or program has one or more library liaisons attached to it -- people with the special subject expertise to advise you on research options and library collections that can help you get your work done.

The Harvard Library Liaisons page, linked above, identifies the librarians who work with the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard (and provide services to the College, GSAS, the Extension School, and many centers, including Hutchins).

Special collections (like Schlesinger or Houghton), the University Archives, and the professional schools (KSG, HBS, Education, Law, Medicine) have library subject experts of their own, and when you need us to, we'll point you toward them and make introductions on your behalf.  

2. Ask A Librarian in email, or chat with us in real time.

Ask A Librarian is our central email service: you can ask questions big or small, request a consultation on Zoom. Librarians monitor the site throughout the day, during weekday evenings, and on the weekends.  Typically, you'll get a response within a few hours -- and certainly with 24 hours of submitting your question. 

The Ask a Librarian page also features a growing knowledge base of FAQs which you can explore for quick answers to common questions. 

For live help, you can always access the chat feature that appears to the right on HOLLIS screens and other library webpages.

3. Explore our Research Guides and Research Quickstart FAQs.

Librarians across University create these resource lists and tutorials for courses, for academic fields, for specialized topics, and for interdisciplinary subjects. Browsing or searching across them can often identify materials, databases, sites, and strategies that might be help move your project forward.

4. Register for access to our Virtual Media Lab

Library technologists can assist with creating podcasts, editing videos, using Adobe Creative Cloud, VR, and more.  They hold regular office hours on Zoom, to which you can drop in; they also do personalized consults. 

5. Showcase your research results with help from a Data Visualization Librarian.

Staff can consult on design principles, and show you tools like Tableau, Google Data Studio, Gelphi, and more.

6. Get advice from the Digital Scholarship Support Group about tools and methods you can use.

A cross-university of team of faculty, technologists, digital humanities specialists, and librarians teach programs like Scalar and NVivo, and schedule consults with researchers. 

If you're curious about Digital Scholarship but still new to the field, you can even enroll (free) in their asynchronous EdX course, Introduction to Digital Humanities.

7. Know your (copy)rights: talk with a Copyright First Responder 

CFRs are librarians, archivists and museum staff across the library system who are trained in areas of copyright law and policy that most affect academic research and scholarship.

Check in with a CFR before you inquire about permission to use copyrighted material in your own work; we can help you determine who and how to ask-- and whether you need to (it may be "Fair Use")! 

Use the link above to locate a CFR or be in touch with Emily Bell or Sue Gilroy, who are also CFRs.