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HOLLIS User Guide

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 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. If you can't find the feature you're looking for, use the "search this guide" box at the top of the page.

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).

Choose Your Search

Choose Everything if:

  • You want to explore the broadest variety of sources
  • Your topic is very interdisciplinary or very current
  • You already have the title of an article you want

Choose Library Catalog if:

  • You want book-length treatments of a topic
  • You want to search Harvard's shelves
  • You need reliable filters for authors and subjects

Find a Database if:

  • You want to do the most thorough search
  • You want to search a specific body of material
  • You need search functions HOLLIS doesn’t offer

What will I find if I choose Library Catalog?

*Items on Harvard’s shelves includes books, journals, newspapers, maps, DVDs, manuscripts, images, archives, and much more. The Library Catalog also searches the full text of Harvard’s archival finding aids, as well as the tables of contents for some books (i.e. individual chapter titles).

Note: the Catalog’s descriptions are maintained by Harvard staff and follow well-established rules for author names, subjects, and other descriptive components. This is why you'll find more reliable filters when you limit your search to Library Catalog.

What will I find if I choose Everything? (NOT** everything!)

  • All Library Catalog contents
  • Records from the Center for Research Libraries catalog
  • Additional e-books (v. Library Catalog)
  • Additional streaming media (v. Library Catalog)
  • Book chapters
  • Journal articles
  • Encyclopedia entries
  • Other types of documents
  • Many items Harvard doesn’t own

**"Everything" is NOT actually everything. It searches the Library Catalog as well as a huge index of citations. This index of citations pulls information from a wide variety of data sources. The descriptions are not under the control of Harvard staff, and they follow a huge variety of conventions for description and naming.

What if the item I want isn't available at Harvard?

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.

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