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.
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."
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)
- The Harvard Library Bookmark allows you to reload webpages via your HarvardKey. This will get you past the paywall for about 80% of the material we license.
- Connecting Google Scholar to your library access adds "Try Harvard Library" links to your search results: these will take you to the best bet for HarvardKey access.
- If you have any trouble getting access, check HOLLIS, the library's main search tool, or ask us for help. (See "How to Use Your Harvard Key to Get Online Articles for Free" for more details.)
- Library databases can be finicky: it's a good idea to have at least two browsers installed (e.g. Firefox and Chrome), and familiarize yourself with the steps for clearing your cache and cookies.
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!