Starts with/Browse

Disambiguate terms and better understand how the Library Catalog is structured.

How it works

Starts with/Browse allows you to explore the authors, titles, subjects, or call numbers in the Library Catalog in alphabetical order.


Use an author browse to find the Library Catalog’s official entry for a person or organization. Entries for persons generally begin with the last name.

The “author” is any creator or contributor to a work, such as translators, former owners, editors, or governmental agencies. The Library Catalog uses the Library of Congress Name Authority Files for most author names.

You will find multiple versions of a name entry. The entry with the largest number of associated records is typically the current preferred form. The other forms of the name are cross-references for former versions or from other name authority lists.


Use a title browse to more efficiently find items that come in multiple series or are known under multiple variant titles. You will find listed every kind of title that might be included in a HOLLIS record (variant, series, former, succeeding, etc.).

Browse also allows you to limit results to items whose full title is an exact match. For example, books and journals with one-word titles can be difficult to find via Search because your results will list all items that include that word somewhere in their title.

FAQ: How do I search HOLLIS for something with a title that’s just one word, or not very unique?

Pro Tip Omit initial articles such as the, le, ein. If you cannot find the title you are looking for, try again with the initial article, in case of a cataloging error.  


  • Proceedings of the Royal Society of London - a journal divided into multiple sub-series, each of which has a few variant titles.
  • Commentary - a one-word title.
  • Town & Country is separated from Town and Country; Index-Catalog from Index Catalog
    • Notice that HOLLIS alphabetizes the ampersand symbol (&) ahead of numbers. HOLLIS also removes hyphens for Browse, whereas in Search a hyphen is treated like a space. HOLLIS’s alphabetization rules may differ from those you are used to from other systems, in particular for numbers, symbols, and other special characters. There are also sometimes differences between search and browse. 
  • Sun also Rises - the title of the novel is The Sun also Rises, but the initial article is removed for Browse.



Use a subject browse to explore how your topic is organized and subdivided in the Library Catalog's subject headings.

Detailed information HOLLIS’s subject headings is available on the Advanced Search page of this User Guide, under “subject.”

Pro Tip: create a new search that mixes and matches terms you find in the subject browse list. Go to Advanced Search, select "subject" from the "any field" drop-down and add different combinations of subjects and subheadings. 


Note: you will find many subjects in "Catalog & Articles" that are not included in Library Catalog. These subjects, which are not available for browsing, come from a much larger and less controlled array of taxonomies.

Call Number

Use a call number browse to explore items in shelf order. It’s a great way to find related materials that might be missing from your search, or to explore collections that are not open for browsing.

Enter all of the initial letters and at least one number of a call number used at Harvard. Include all spaces and punctuation. 

You must identify the call number system to browse: choose “other” if the system you’re searching for is not listed in the drop-down menu.


  • Call number - Other: MS Am 1
    • American manuscripts in Houghton Library, in chronological order. The reference team at any Harvard special collection can help you identify the best call numbers to browse for your needs.
  • Call number - Library of Congress: QH 31
    • Biographies of naturalists, in name order, across multiple Harvard libraries. Note: there is no subject term common to all of these books, making it almost impossible to produce the same list via search.
  • Call number - Old Widener: RR 4219 or RR 4781
    • Reference works on U.S. statistics (RR 4219) or ethnic studies (RR 4781) in Widener’s Loker Reading Room.
  • Call number - Other: Film S 830
    • Microfilm collections of archival material from the British government, on Lamont Level D’s closed stacks.

Browse is available for all of the call number systems in use in Harvard’s libraries. Note: some items in Harvard's collections do not have call numbers; these are omitted from browse.

For Harvard-specific call numbers, you also have the option to explore via search with Code: Local Call Number.

Up Next: Other Library Systems

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