Find a Database
The library offers licensed access to over 1,000 different databases and electronic text collections. The full list is at databases.hollis.harvard.edu. See below for my top picks for graduate students in literary studies, plus tips on how to search the full list effectively.
And remember, get in touch when you're starting a new project or area of research! I'm always happy to recommend databases, or to sit down with you to explore the best ways to make use of databases for a project.
- HOLLISThis is a touchstone for all Harvard researchers---it's the library's main catalog plus a giant index of articles, and it's one of the places you'll search the most while you're here.
- WorldCatWorldCat is a union catalog that allows you to find books in library collections across the U.S. and beyond. This is the place to look for things Harvard might be missing. The link above takes you to the licensed "FirstSearch" interface, which provides more precision search features than the free, user-friendlier worldcat.org.
- Literary Research in Harvard LibrariesThis guide covers all the basic databases that are an absolute must for literary researchers, including the MLA International Bibliography, Literature Online (LION), the OED, Cambridge Companions, and many more. Start there, and then supplement with the additional databases below.
Additional top picks for literary studies: searchable full-text scholarship
- JSTORFull-text of the full runs of scholarly journals from a range of disciplines. Harvard's subscription includes all journal titles in the JSTOR collection. N.b. there is often a "moving wall" excluding recent issues.
- Arts & Humanities Full TextA high-quality collection of about 500 journals and magazines in humanities disciplines. Great for a highly curated interdisciplinary search.
- Cambridge University PressAll of Cambridge University Press's online content. Harvard licenses all of the Companions and Histories as well as some of the journals and books. The uber-interface can be a bit bewildering: to search within specific collections such as journals, books, etc., start from "what we publish" (an option in the top nav bar). If you hit a paywall, search for the title in HOLLIS; Harvard may have licensed the book or journal via a different platform.
- Google BooksA full-text database of books, part of which comes from scans Google made of out-of-copyright library materials, and part of which are supplied directly to Google by publishers. Great for previewing a book you're interested in, for finding just-published books, for exploring a topic when you don't know the library subject headings, etc.
- Project MuseOne of the three major platforms Harvard licenses for university press books, each with a different selection of presses. Project Muse also offers scholarly journals, primarily humanities and social sciences. No restrictions on recent issues (unlike JSTOR).
- UPSO: University Press Scholarship OnlineOne of the three major platforms the library licenses for e-books from university presses. They each offer a different selection of presses--UPSO features Oxford plus a bunch of other university presses.
- De Gruyter University Press LibraryOne of the three major platforms Harvard licenses for university press books, each with a different selection of presses. De Gruyter features Harvard, Columbia, Penn, Toronto, and de Gruyter. An extensive selection of Harvard titles; for the other presses our access focuses on the past 3-4 years.
- Google ScholarMake sure to install the Harvard Library Bookmarklet and/or add Harvard to your "library links" under Google Scholar's Settings so that you can access articles that Harvard has licensed for you. Google Scholar is an algorithmically harvested database of articles and other material that is *probably* scholarly. Mostly full-text.
How to search the full databases list
databases.hollis.harvard.edu searches descriptions of the databases Harvard subscribes to. The search interface recognizes all of HOLLIS's search operators.
Suggested search strategies:
- Subject = Language and Literature
- Keyword in database description = Literature
- Keyword in database description = Writer* OR author*
- Keyword in database description = Fiction OR poems OR poet* OR novel* OR play* OR drama
- Keyword in database description = 18th OR eighteenth [edit to match your preferred time period]
- Keyword in database description = Chinese OR China OR Sino* [edit to match your preferred region or language]