Choose Where to Search

Make the best choice for your search needs: Catalog & Articles, Library Catalog, or a separate database.

Choose Catalog & Articles 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

More info: What will I find if I choose Catalog & Articles?

Choose Library Catalog if:

  • You want book-length treatments of a topic
  • You’re looking for Harvard collections in particular
  • You need reliable filters for authors and subjects

More info: What will I find if I choose Library Catalog?

Choose Databases.HOLLIS if:

  • You want to search a specialized body of material
  • You need to search full-text, or another function HOLLIS doesn’t offer
  • You know that HOLLIS’s coverage of your preferred databases is incomplete

More info: What will I find if I choose Databases?

Note: HOLLIS searches only some full text.

HOLLIS searches item descriptions, also known as the item’s metadata, such as author, title, abstract, and subjects. 

HOLLIS also sometimes searches the full text. One example is the full text of online finding aids for Harvard’s archival collections, which are always searched. There is also full text available for select article collections, such as JSTOR and some encyclopedia entries. These article collections account for only a percentage of the billions of citations in HOLLIS. You can use the “search text of articles” toggle at the top of the filter menu to choose whether to search available full text.

Learn more about what HOLLIS does and doesn't search:

What will I find if I choose Catalog & Articles?

Citations and catalog records for material from a variety of sources, including:

  • All Library Catalog contents
  • Catalog records from the Center for Research Libraries
  • Additional e-books (more than Library Catalog alone)
  • Additional streaming media (more than Library Catalog alone)
  • Book chapters
  • Journal articles, including book reviews
  • Newspaper articles
  • Encyclopedia entries

Access note: Catalog & Articles includes many items Harvard does not own, though we may be able to get you a copy via InterLibrary Loan.

Metadata note: the “articles” portion of Catalog & Articles pulls information from a wide variety of data sources. The descriptions are not under the control of Harvard staff, and they follow many different conventions for description and naming.

What will I find if I choose Library Catalog?

Catalog records for Harvard Library collections, including:

  • Books
  • Books from ReCAP partner libraries
  • Journals (by journal title)
  • Newspapers (by newspaper title)
  • Maps
  • DVDs
  • Images
  • Archives (collection records and finding aid text)
  • Manuscripts
  • Datasets
  • Harvard theses
  • E-books and e-journals (some gaps)
  • Streaming titles (many gaps)

Metadata note: the Library 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 Databases?

Access points for electronic resources, including:

  • Subject- and format-specific search engines
  • Citation and abstract indexes
  • Large e-book and e-journal collections
  • Primary-source collections
  • Portals for accessing data and statistics
  • Streaming audio and video platforms
  • Discipline-specific research portals

See also: Where is the User Guide for HOLLIS Databases?


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