Welcome

This guide is intended as a point of departure for research in history.  We also have a more selective guide with major resources only: Introductory Library Research Guide for History.

Please feel free to email us with questions. We can make an appointment for you to come in, and we can talk at length about your project.

  • Fred Burchsted (burchst@fas.harvard.edu) Research Librarian and Liaison to the Department of History, Widener Library.
  • Anna Assogba (assogba@fas.harvard.edu) Research Librarian, Lamont Library (With particular knowledge of Zotero and other citation management systems).

Library News

New News

Digitization of Special Collections materials
Several special collections, including Harvard Archives, Houghton and Schlesinger, are planning to digitize, where possible, material needed by students and researchers as well as for Fall courses.  If you have requests, please submit them as soon as possible.  Requests will be filled as far as available time and personnel allow.  Contact the repository directly with requests.

Scan&Deliver
As of June 2020, Scan & Deliver is scanning materials available in Widener, Lamont, Countway, and the Harvard Depository. When you make a request, we will do our best to find a digital version for you. Please submit your request via HOLLIS, regardless of the library location, and we’ll let you know if it’s available.  Requests for scans of material in other institutions will be filled when possible.

Only books not available through HathiTrust Temporary Access can be requested for Lamont pick up.

Imaging Services
Imaging Services staff are now (6/29) working again in Widener. If a patron is seeking a reproduction s/he should submit a request, which will trigger a reply from the owning repository. https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/imagingcustomerservice/requesting-reproductions?admin_panel=1&login=1

Old News (6/29/20)

Library book pickup
The first phase of reopening the Library begins on June 30.  Books from the Harvard Depository, Lamont and Widener (only) can be requested via HOLLIS and picked up in the vestibule in Lamont between the two sets of doors at the main entrance.  When you get the hold pickup notice there will be a link to LibCal.  In LibCal you will choose a time slot to do the pickup.  No one can pick up a book without having scheduled a pickup time.

Holds
Books that were on hold the day we shut the doors are still on hold. If you want a held book, contact Access: hl_access_services@harvard.edu.

Digitization of Special Collections materials
Several special collections, including Harvard Archives, Houghton and Schlesinger, are planning to digitize, where possible, material needed for Fall courses.  If you have requests, please submit them as soon as possible.  Requests will be filled as far as available time and personnel allow.  Contact the repository directly with requests.

HathiTrust
HathiTrust Emergency Access (explained here https://www.hathitrust.org/ETAS-Description) is expected to continue as long as library service is limited.  Note that:
--Double login in (both HOLLIS and HathiTrust) is no longer required.  Just log in to HOLLIS when you begin.
--The full runs of journals available in HathiTrust will be available even where Harvard only has a partial run
--When searching in HathiTrust, do not select View Online Only.  Selecting it will omit the Temporary Access material in your results.
--No downloading is available for the Temporary Access material

Data Visualization workshops
The schedule for summer workshops in data visualization is available https://library.harvard.edu/services-tools/visualization-support.

Online Primary Sources
We have created a new page on the History guide on Finding Primary Sources Online: https://guides.library.harvard.edu/history/digital  Any comments or suggestions welcome.

New library guides available
*FAS Course Support from the Library: A Guide for Faculty https://guides.library.harvard.edu/FAScoursesupport
*Copyright Considerations for the Harvard Community in Shifting Courses from In-Person to Online During the COVID-19 Crisis https://guides.library.harvard.edu/CopyrightCOVID
*Using Published Video in Online Courses https://guides.library.harvard.edu/UsingVideo

Getting What You Need

This page will be updated as information becomes available

Books can be returned at the back (Massachusetts Avenue) door of Widener.

Library book pickup
The first phase of reopening the Library begins on June 30.  Books from the Harvard Depository, Lamont and Widener (only) can be requested via HOLLIS and picked up in the vestibule in Lamont between the two sets of doors at the main entrance.  When you get the hold pickup notice there will be a link to LibCal.  In LibCal you will choose a time slot to do the pickup.  No one can pick up a book without having scheduled a pickup time. Only books not available through HathiTrust Temporary Access can be requested for Lamont pick up.

HathiTrust
HathiTrust Emergency Access (explained here https://www.hathitrust.org/ETAS-Description) is expected to continue as long as library service is limited.  Note that:
--Double login in (both HOLLIS and HathiTrust) is no longer required.  Just log in to HOLLIS when you begin.
--The full runs of journals available in HathiTrust will be available even where Harvard only has a partial run
--When searching in HathiTrust, do not select View Online Only.  Selecting it will omit the Temporary Access material in your results.
--No downloading is available for the Temporary Access material

Internet Archive: Internet Archive has many copyrighted e-books available to borrow for 2 weeks. You can create a free account and log in to borrow the book. Only one person can borrow a book at one time.

Scan&Deliver
As of June 2020, Scan & Deliver is scanning materials (an article which is not available online or a chapter (up to 30 pp.) from a book) available in Widener, Lamont, Countway, and the Harvard Depository. When you make a request, we will do our best to find a digital version for you. Please submit your request via HOLLIS, regardless of the library location, and we’ll let you know if it’s available.  Requests for scans of material in other institutions will be filled when possible.

Digitization of Special Collections materials
Several special collections, including Harvard Archives, Houghton and Schlesinger, are planning to digitize, where possible, material needed for Fall courses, and for students and researchers.  If you have requests, please submit them as soon as possible.  Requests will be filled as far as available time and personnel allow.  Contact the repository directly with requests.

Interlibrary Loan Services
ILL for physical items is currently unavailable. Interlibrary Loan will obtain scans of book chapters and articles where possible: choose Request Article/Chapter under ILL Requests on your ILL page. This takes only 1-4 days.

Purchase Requests
Purchase requests will be filled by e-books where available.  Requests for print-only books will be kept until normal ordering begins.

I need an article I found online but not through HOLLIS or Harvard Library Databases.
Instructions in: How to Use Your Harvard Key to Get Online Articles for Free

Digital Scholarship Support Group
The Digital Scholarship Support Group offers faculty, students, and staff interested in incorporating digital methods into their teaching and research a single point of entry to the many resources available at Harvard. The schedule for summer workshops in data visualization is available.

Visit a Library near You

Your local public library may have an e-books program.

Search in: WorldCat (the OCLC Union Catalog) which includes catalog records from over 70,000 libraries worldwide but largely U.S. Includes books, periodicals, archives and manuscripts, maps, videotapes, computer readable files, etc.  Harvard's subscribed version offers the most powerful search (use Advanced search), but the public version allows you to enter your zip code and find nearby libraries holding a specified book.

You can probably visit a nearby university library, if open, although you won't be able to borrow books (unless it is a Borrow Direct library - see below).  Many university libraries have special borrower cards available for purchase.  Always check with the library on its admittance policy before visiting.

Harvard’s membership in Borrow Direct entitles you to visit and borrow from other Borrow Direct libraries: Brown  --  Columbia  --  Cornell  --  Dartmouth  --  Duke  --  Harvard  --  Johns Hopkins  --  MIT --  Princeton  --  Stanford  -- Univ. of Chicago  --  Univ. of Pennsylvania --  Yale.  All these libraries are currently closed.

Bear in mind that even open libraries may be reducing occupancy by eliminating special borrowers.  So check with your intended libraries

Visit an Archives near You

This guide gives instructions for finding archives and manuscripts outside of Harvard: Library Research Guide for Finding Manuscripts and Archival Collections.  Methods for limiting by region, where available, are given for the archive and manuscript databases. Some archives have digitized, usually small selected, portions of their collections.  These are often accessed through collection finding aids, sometimes through digital collections 

This guide offers advice on visiting non-Harvard archives: Research Travel Checklist..

General Information

To find new Harvard E-Resources.Go to Cross-Search in Harvard Libraries E-Resources and choose the Quick Set: New E-Resources. This operates oddly, you sometimes have to select one of the E-Resources displayed, then close the resulting page to see the whole list of new E-Resources. This list displays some but not all new E-Resources.

The following history library blogs list new history resources: