Get Started

Sign up for Harvard Library Updates

  • Sign up to receive our emails (every 2-4 weeks) with updates on newly reopened library services and other pandemic-related adjustments and accommodations.
  • The yellow banner alert at the top of library.harvard.edu links to the latest information on our services.

Explore Collections

  • There are over 70 Harvard libraries, and more collections than you will be able to get to. Your first weeks on campus are a great time to explore broadly and strategize: get ideas about collections and kinds of materials you may want to work with.

  • Start by getting a sense of the range:

  • Dig deeper with individual Harvard library websites:

    • From Locations & Hours, you can select a library name to see a brief description, and then under Contact you will find a link to the "full website."

    • Each library’s own homepage offers the kind of overview description and special highlights that can be hard to glean from the catalog or individual finding aids.

Find your touchstone databases

  • The "Find a Database" section of this guide tells you how.

  • Harvard licenses thousands of databases and e-resources. Now is the time to explore and get a sense of what might be out there, so that when crunch time hits, you’ll be able to navigate quickly and expertly to what you need. Once you have your HarvardKey, you can access our databases and work your way up the learning curve for specific systems.

Connect Your Browser to Harvard Library Access (requires HarvardKey)

Make a BrowZine account (requires HarvardKey)

  • BrowZine is a journal browsing platform that is great for keeping up with your field. Make an account, add journals to your bookshelf, and browse recent issues from your phone (with the app) or computer.

Pick a Research Management Tool

  • Software that grabs citations for you and helps you organize all of your research, notes, and PDFs in one easily accessible place on your computer or in the cloud. The library offers training and support for several tools. For the humanities and social sciences we recommend Zotero, but no need to overthink the decision at this point---it's usually very easy to export citation information to a new tool if you change your mind.

When library buildings reopen: Request a carrel (requires HarvardKey)

  • Graduate students are eligible to have a carrel in the Widener stacks: start the process with the carrel request form. Note: this request form might show some kind of "login" error: just keep selecting "next" until you see a form you can fill out. At the start of term, it may take up to 4 weeks to receive your carrel assignment. Materials from the Widener stacks, including non-circulating materials like bound periodicals, can be checked out to your carrel. You might also want to invest in some fingerless gloves: the stacks can be a bit chilly!