History Newsletter January 2018


Library Exhibits


Lamont Bag Check and Government Documents
Bag checks leaving Lamont have been eliminated (bags will still be checked for those exiting the attached Pusey 1 hallway where Maps, Houghton's Theatre Collection, and Harvard University Archives are located).

To preserve the irreplaceable material in the government documents and microfilm on Level D,  that floor has been closed. Anyone wanting material from Level D needs to fill out a paper form at the Circulation Desk.  Material will be retrieved within 2 hours. 

Faculty and their RAs (registered with the library) can be admitted by a librarian to browse Level D on their own; others needing assistance can make an appointment with a research librarian to discuss their research needs (it's still necessary to fill out a paper form in order to remove something from Level D).

If you want to visit Level D, either Anna Assogba (assogba@fas.harvard.edu) or myself (burchst@fas.harvard.edu) can let you in, or in our absence an email to asklib@fas.harvard.edu will produce someone to let you in. There is a section on the history guide about this with instructions for HOLLIS searching of foreign government documents.

The paper guides to microfilm collections (INDEX FILM) have been brought up to the Reference Room on Level B.  Many guides are available online but generally are not linked from the HOLLIS record.  Find them by Google searching the microfilm collection title as a phrase (in "") or by noting the publisher on the HOLLIS record and consulting the publisher websites: 

Primary Source Media/Scholarly Resources Online Guides (Keyword search offers more detailed search than HOLLIS+)
Adam Matthew Digital Guides
University Publications of America (ProQuest)

Finding Biographical Sources

We will be doing a workshop on finding historical biographical sources on  Wednesday, February 14, from 2:30-3:00 in B-30 Lamont.

Citation Tools Classes
Check for the schedule of citation management (Zotero, Endnote) classes for Spring semester on Research Management and Citation Tools at Harvard.


A new HOLLIS+ interface will appear in January.  The new interface looks different from the current HOLLIS+, but in terms of functionality it is the same catalog.

There is no link to HOLLIS Classic on the new search page, but if you bring up any full record, there is a link near the bottom. You can shift from Everything to Library Catalog in the search box after your initial search.

You will need to go to the Advanced Search screen to limit to Author, Title, Subject, etc. fields.  This is often important in searching for Subject terms indicating primary sources: Sources, Archives, Narratives, Diaries, etc.

The new HOLLIS+ offers persistent search urls.  You can copy the url of your search results and use it to repeat the search later

There will be a really new HOLLIS this summer and HOLLIS Classic will then disappear.

FindIt@Harvard confusions in HOLLIS+.

View Online and Locations & Availability are usually straightforward, but FindIt@Harvard can be confusing. Sometimes FindIt@Harvard  takes you to the full text or a HOLLIS record, but if not, go back to the Details page.

If you see Is Part Of and then a title, copy the title and search it in HOLLIS+.

If you see ProQuest, go to Proquest Business Premium Collection and search your title.  If unsuccessful, at top of the page choose Change databases. Open Select all, then Use selected database, and search your title.

E-Resource News

Colonial North America Digital Collection has a new website and has added around 300,000 pages.

LexisNexis Academic will soon be replaced by Nexis Uni which is largely the same database but with a new interface.  The search screen is a default News search. You can shift to legal or business sources.  You can input keywords and limit by date.  Note that multiple keywords have a default OR.  If you search Boston gangs, you are searching Boston or gangs, so it is usually best to supply an andBoston and gangs.  The results screen offers a variety of ways of refining your results.

Web of Science coverage for the social sciences, including history, now goes back to 1900.  Formerly only until 1956. Research guide.

There are collections of British colonial documents in LLMC Digital: Open Online Services, then Browse Collections, then Special Focus Collections, then British Empire Studies.

Adam Matthew Digital has developed an artificial intelligence based search system, Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR), for its manuscript collections.  It is currently available in Colonial America and will be added to other Adam Matthew digital manuscript collections.  More information.

Colonial America (1606-1822) offers the CO 5 series from the UK National Archives and consists of the original correspondence between the British government and the governments of the American colonies.

The Library of Congress has put the papers of Alexander Hamilton online for the first time in their original format. LC holds the world’s largest collection of Hamilton papers.  Transcriptions are available in Papers of Alexander Hamilton: Digital Edition.

Documentary Film and Newsreel E-Resources

American Film Institute Catalog covers the history of American cinema comprehensively from 1893 to 1975, with full or short records for films from 1976 to present. Every film produced on American soil or by American production companies is indexed. In Advanced Search, under Genre, you can limit to Documentary.

Research Guides


African Online Digital Library includes video interviews with eminent African scholars, religious leaders, and activists.

Digitalia Film Library offers streaming video of films and documentaries from Latin America, Europe and North America. Special collections feature Argentine, French, and North American classic cinema.

Film Platform offers documentary films on a wide variety of subjects.  There are collections on several topics. Searches can be filtered by topic, country of production, and language.

Filmmakers Library Online includes documentaries in the humanities and social science, including race and gender studies, human rights, globalization and global studies, multiculturalism, international relations, criminal justice, the environment, bioethics, health, political science and current events, psychology, arts, literature.

HistoryMakers: African American oral video history archive

Ideas Roadshow offers in-depth conversations with a wide variety of scholars and scientists

InaMédiaPro offers French news reels, documentaries, radio shows, presidential addresses, etc. Mostly from 1949 to present, with select reels from the early 20th Century. User guide.

Kanopy is a streaming video service for universities that offers over 26,000 titles on a broad range of subjects including anthropology, architecture, art, gender & race, environment & sustainability, health, law, media, politics and psychology/sociology.

Latin America in Video. Issues include human rights, violence, immigration, illiteracy, popular culture, and political history.”

The March of Time: Series of Time Inc. newsreels, produced 1935-1967, presented as a blend of confrontational journalism and docudrama, often using actors to stage events, presented in online streaming video. Synchronized, searchable transcripts run alongside each video; playlist functionality lets users create, annotate, and organize clips and include links to other content; permanent URLs let users cite and share videos, playlists, and clips.

NBC Learn includes digitized stories from the NBC News archives -- one of the largest news archives in the world, dating back to the 1920s.  Collections are updated daily with stories from NBC Nightly News, the TODAY show, Meet the Press, Dateline NBC, as well as the MSNBC, CNBC, and Telemundo networks. There are 26 subject areas.

New World Cinema includes independent features and shorts, 1990–present

PBS Video Collection offers  streaming access from PBS documentary films and series, including American Experience, American Masters, Empires, Frontline, History Detectives, NOVA, Odyssey, films of Ken Burns and Michael Wood.

Television News Archive (Vanderbilt University) (1968-) is the guide to the network television news programs collection at Vanderbilt University. Since August 5, 1968, the Archive has recorded, abstracted, and indexed national television newscasts. Individuals can search the abstracts by keyword to find information and/or request videotape loans. Online video is available for CNN news broadcasts from October 1995 to the present.

World History in Video offers over 1,750 documentaries, covering antiquity to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

World Newsreels Online, 1929-1966. English, French or Japanese with English transcripts.

New E-Resources

Economist Intelligence Unit Country Reports Archive (1952-1995) covers political, economic and commercial developments.

History of Feminism includes many secondary source books, book chapters, and periodical articles, together with primary sources from Routledge's History of Feminism book series (HOLLIS search; list of the series)

Mergent Archives. The Mergent Historical Annual Reports Collection – International Collection offers annual reports issued by companies listed outside of the US back to the late 1800s. The SEC collection provides access to 10K reports back to the 1960s.

Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion 

Translations of the Peking Gazette Online (1793-1912) includes English translations of Qing dynasty official edicts and memorials. Content from several publications, including the Indo-Chinese Gleaner, the Canton Register, the Chinese Repository, and the North China Herald is included creating a comprehensive collection of Peking Gazettes.

Highlighted E-Resource: Politico Pro

ProPublica has made available bulk data on congressional bills back to 1973:  "Download information on every bill introduced in each session of Congress, in a single file, with our new bulk bill data set." The data is available at the ProPublica Data Store.

This works for the current Congress: "Twice a day, we generate a single zip file containing metadata for every bill introduced in the current congress, including who sponsors and cosponsors the bill, actions taken by committees, votes on the floor and a summary of what the bill would do."  More information.

Politico Pro aims to give its users the necessary background knowledge on legislative news. Users can choose a particular news story or policy topic and see primary source documents related to that story/topic, and further limit down by type of document, time period, keyword, or geographic region. Politico Pro also makes the background and contact information on its editing and reporting staff available so that users can contact them with questions about their news coverage. Politico Pro also tries to keep its users up-to-date with news story email updates and a calendar of policy-related events, some of which are open to the public. The site also provides pre-made “infographics” on policy topics, for use in presentations or reports.

The one downside of the site is a less-than-ideal interface and navigation. The menu bar and page content does not always display properly. Not all content is apparent from the homepage; users need to choose a news story or topic in order to see the option for primary documents and infographics. The site seems to function better in Chrome and Safari than in Firefox.

Harvard’s subscription does not include access to:

  • the Congressional Directory (contact information and issue specialization for Capitol Hill legislators and staff)
  • Legislative Compass (a bill tracker)
  • Personal logins (customization of account)

Microfilm Collections

Political pamphlets from the Indian subcontinent (1916-1990, bulk is 1946–1980). 5 pts. on 1606 microfiche.
Online guides

Thirteen sets of  U.S. military intelligence reports in HOLLIS+ were omitted from our page on US government archives.

Non-Harvard E-Resources

Bexar Archives Online is a digital archive that collects historical documents pertaining to the Spanish and Mexican cultures existing in Texas from 1717–1805.  More information.

Conde de Montemar website provides open access to a collection of letters from the family of Diego José Carrillo de Albornoz y Bravo de Lagunas, V Count of Montemar from Lima, Perú. The collection, housed in Illinois’s RBML, comprises some 280 letters between 1761 and 1799.

Digital Repository of Ireland    More Information

Linda Hall Library Digital Collections offers a large number of books and images in 24 history of science subject categories

Mapping Indigenous Los Angeles "aims to uncover and highlight the multiple layers of indigenous Los Angeles through a storymapping project with youth, community leaders, and elders from indigenous communities throughout the city. "

The Medical Heritage Library through the Internet Archive has released journals of nearly 50 state medical societies, including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.  Medical Heritage Library News.

A Tale of Two Plantations: Mount Airy plantation in Virginia and Mesopotamia plantation in Jamaica offers lineages of slaves over several generations. More Information.

World War II oral history project focuses on the American home front experience.