HOLLIS Overview

HOLLIS is the library's main search interface. It includes the Harvard library catalog as well as a huge collection of citations for a variety of materials. 

  • By default, HOLLIS will search "Catalog & Articles" which includes the Harvard library catalog as well as a huge collection of citations for a variety of materials. You can also change the search box to only search "Library Catalog."
  • HOLLIS does not contain everything Harvard owns, and Harvard doesn't own everything in HOLLIS, but we can get you almost anything through services like BorrowDirect and Interlibrary Loan (ILL).
  • Remember to sign-in to take full advantage of HOLLIS, especially to see borrowing links and Scan and Deliver links. 

Search Options

Here are additional details about the different options for searching:

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

Choose Library Catalog if:

  • You want book-length treatments of a topic
  • You want to search Harvard's shelves
  • You need reliable filters for authors and subjects

If you specifically want to search Harvard's special collections and archives, especially for primary sources, you might want to use HOLLIS for Archival Discovery.

Keyword Searching

Skilled use of your search words will make a significant improvement in your search results. You will also need to conduct multiple searches and continually revise your search. Assess the titles, summaries/abstracts, and subject headings from search results. Adjust your search based on what you find. The Diagnose Your Search Problems tutorial provides help with adjusting searches.   

Filter Your Results

Using the Filters after searching helps narrow down the search results to what you are looking for.


Browsing/Subject Headings

Browsing in the catalog is helpful when you're trying to discover your interest. It helps you see how writing about an author, an idea, an event, etc. has been broken down and categorized. Browsing by Subject is often most helpful.

  • How to Browse
    • Click on the STARTS WITH / BROWSE link above the search box. 
    • Change the drop-down to Browse by SUBJECT.
    • Enter a broader and major topic word to discover subject headings. 
  • Look at Subjects that appear in the details of HOLLIS search results you find
  • Advanced Search Tip
    • It's often best to adapt the subject headings and subheadings you see in search results, or from browsing, into a new search. 
    • From Advanced Search, select "Subject - exact phrase" from the "Keywords anywhere" drop-down, and add a subject word or phrase you already came across in search results. Then use the additional search box, with "Keywords anywhere - contains" to add another search word to focus in on your topic.