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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.

Refine My Results


This option allows you to personalize the order of article results by discipline. It's especially helpful if your topic is difficult to capture in search keywords. Look for "personalize" at the top left of your search results.

Note: you may still see books in your results, but they will not be personalized.

Refine & Filter

The default "sort by" option is relevance: for more details, see "What does “relevance” mean?" on the FAQ.

To view a subset of your results, use the checkboxes and then select "apply filters" at the bottom of the screen (or, to apply just one, select the filter name). To exclude items, look for the red x.

Click "Show More" to see the full list of possible filters.

If a filter is cut off, hover your mouse over it to see the full name.

Pro tips: once you have applied filters, you can use the lock icon to keep them in place when you run a new search. You can also start from the Advanced Search page to pre-set your favorite filters.

Note these powerful filters

(available only when searching Everything):

Show only: Peer-reviewed articles

Limits to articles from journals designated as "peer reviewed" in Ulrichsweb: Global Serials Directory.

Resource type: Reviews

Limits to records that identify themselves as book reviews.

Resource type: Reference Entries

Limits to records that identify themselves as entries in handbooks, encyclopedias, etc.

Multiple filters

The relationship between filters depends on how you select them. The display under “Active filters” shows some, but not all, of the following relationships:

If you are using the checkboxes to apply multiple filters in a category such as author or location, you will see items from your original results that match any one of the applied filters for that category (OR relationship). Example: books OR articles about particle physics.

To create an AND relationship between filters from the same category, apply one filter at a time. Example: items on agriculture or farming that are in both Japanese AND Chinese.

There is always an AND relationship between filters from different categories. Example: items about particle physics that are books AND belong to Cabot Science Library.

Excluding a filter always creates an AND NOT relationship. Example: items on “ethics” that are archival or manuscript materials AND NOT dissertations.

Use caution when applying filters

Filters are drawn verbatim from the individual records in your search results, and they are only as good as the data they come from. Due to variations in HOLLIS records, you may see multiple versions of the same subject or author name, and you may encounter filters that look good but are very inconsistently applied. Selecting an inconsistently applied filter, or only one of the variations on a subject or author, will exclude all of the records that may be relevant but do not contain that exact entry for subject, author, etc.

It’s a good idea to select all variants of a relevant term. Often, the best strategy is to reformulate your search, using the language you see in the filter menus.

Near-identical filter options are particularly prevalent in "Everything," which bundles together records from many different sources, all of which may follow different conventions for, e.g., Shakespeare's name. Pro tip: you can see where the data comes from under "Record Source," at the bottom of the filter list.