Getting Started

HOLLIS does not contain everything Harvard owns, and Harvard doesn’t own everything in HOLLIS, but we can get you almost anything.

HOLLIS is the library's main search interface. It includes the Harvard library catalog as well as a huge (and more heterogeneous) collection of citations for a variety of materials, including articles and book chapters. HOLLIS does not search the full-text of books and articles, though you find occasional exceptions.

This User Guide describes HOLLIS's system features and complements our HOLLIS FAQs. Use the table of contents to navigate or the "search this guide" box at the top of the page to search for a particular feature.

If you would like search advice specific to your research topic, please Ask A Librarian.

Sign In and My Account

Sign In

Do this first. Why? Because you need to be signed in to:

  • Make and manage requests (pick up, Scan & Deliver, etc.)
  • See otherwise invisible articles
  • Save favorites
  • Save your personalized ranking preferences for articles


Alums and Guests

Alums: alumni access to online resources happens via the links on's page for alums. Alums can still use their HOLLIS accounts to manage requests, save favorites, and personalize results, but HOLLIS's "online access" links will only work if the item is publicly accessible, as is the case with Harvard-digitized or HathiTrust items.

Guest Users: you do not need to sign in to HOLLIS to search the Library Catalog. You will still be able to access all of the bibliographic information about items in our collections. To request items for on-site consultation in a special collections reading room, use the "View in Library" link. For items from our circulating collections, please inquire with your local library's Interlibrary Loan service, or make arrangements with our Privileges Office to consult materials on-site. We also offer fee-based imaging services where copyright allows. For more information, see I'm not a Harvard student. Can I get access to Harvard materials?

My Account

To renew items you have checked out as view well current requests, saved items, and other details, use the drop-down menu that appears next to your name once you have signed in.

For more detailed information, see our FAQ on Renewal (Library Materials).

What if the item I want isn't in HOLLIS?

HOLLIS is huge, but it's not everything. HOLLIS may have a citation for the journal but not the individual articles, the book but not the individual chapters, etc. There is additional content in our databases that HOLLIS has no citations for. There is material in the collections that has not yet been cataloged, or is minimally cataloged.

And even if Harvard doesn’t currently own an item, we can usually get a copy for you. “How to Get It” will take you through the steps.

If you don't find what you need in HOLLIS, don't hesitate to Ask a Librarian for help figuring out how to get a copy of what you need. You can also suggest we buy a copy for our collection.

Up Next: Choose Where to Search

Still Looking?

Can we make the HOLLIS User Guide more helpful to you?