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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.

Using Search Operators

Note: the following search operators can be used in HOLLIS, HOLLIS Images, and Databases.


Exact Phrase

Use quotation marks to search for your terms as an exact phrase. Great for title searches.

"to kill a mockingbird"

Boolean Connectors

AND, OR, and NOT must be in all caps to be recognized as operators.

NSA OR "National Security Agency"

cellular NOT phone

Order of Operations

Use parentheses to define the order of operations.

("Affordable Care Act" OR Obamacare) AND "birth control"


? matches a single character and * matches multiple characters.


genom* mapping


Other punctuation marks

Generally, you can include or omit punctuation marks and diacritics, and your search results will be the same. There are some exceptions:

  • You may observe slightly different behaviors in Basic Search and Advanced Search as compared to Starts with/Browse. For example, in Search, a hyphen and a space are considered the same, while in Browse they are not.
  • Certain symbols that carry lexical meaning, such as ampersand (&), are searched and matched.
  • If you are working with Korean translations, it’s useful to know that alif cannot be searched as a comma.

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