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Expos 20 | Reading Museums

Resources and Strategies for Research

Welcome!

This resource guide has been designed for students in  Reading Museums, a Fall 2021 Expos 20 course taught by Christina Becker.

student in harvard art museums looking up close at a framed paintingSee our suggestions simply as starting points -- a preliminary toolkit or research workbench.They represent our first best guesses at where you might find current scholarly conversations to use in your essay and capstone project. 

Remember that good research is often about following up on hunches, testing out a hypothesis and then seeing where else (or to what else) it leads. You may need to try several search word combinations before you strike gold. 

Please reach out  if questions arise at any point in your project. We'll triage by email or set up a time to meet in person or on Zoom.

Enjoy your work! 

Sue Gilroy, Librarian for Undergraduate Programs for Writing, Lamont Library

HOLLIS in a Nutshell

 USING HOLLIS WELL: THREE CONSIDERATIONS

 

1.  Understand what HOLLIS is.

HOLLIS combines the extensive contents of our library catalog, the record every item owned by every Harvard Library with those of another, large and multidisciplinary database of journal, newspaper, and magazine articles. 

When you search "everything"  -- the system default --  your results represent content from both databases together, at once.  You can make different choices, however before or after you execute a search, if you want to view "library catalog" content separately.


2. Know how to work HOLLIS.

Creating search strings with some of the techniques below can help you get better results up front. 

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3. Take control of your HOLLIS results.

While the broad and panoramic approach to searching HOLLIS can be mind-opening, you can sometimes find yourself overwhelmed by either the numbers or types of results your search returns.

When that happens, try one of these easy tricks:

 

  Limit your Everything search results set just to the items listed in the LIBRARY CATALOG.

Your numbers will immediately get smaller. Keep in mind, though, that the results will be heavily weighted toward book-length studies.

 

  Limit your Everything search results set to items that are identified as PEER REVIEWED ARTICLES.

You'll eliminate newspaper and magazine materials as well as books, of course, but you'll also raise the visibility of scholarly journal articles in what displays. 

 

  Think about limiting your results to publications from the last 5, 10, 15, or 20 years.

By doing so you'll get a snapshot of the most recent research trends and scholarly approaches in a field (or around a particular issue).

 

 

DOCUMENT DELIVERY SERVICES AVAILABLE TO YOU:

Scan and Deliver

When an article you find in HOLLIS is not owned at Harvard, or is available in a printed journal volume but not online, you can ask us to make a PDF for you through a service called Scan and Deliver.

We'll send you an email when it's ready for downloading, typically between 1 and 4 days after you place the request. Scan and Deliver is a free service to Harvard affiliates.

Scan and Deliver is also an option if you want up to two chapters of any Harvard-owned book digitized for your use.  

 

What should you do if a book you find in HOLLIS and want to use is:

  • checked out to someone else;
  • declared missing or lost  in the catalog record you are looking at (alas, it happens);
  • on order (that is, coming into the library collection but not yet arrived at Harvard); or
  • in process (that is, it's arrived at Harvard but some final things are being done to get it read for the "stacks," our word for the library shelves)?

In every one of these cases,  open the full item record and look for the BORROW DIRECT option toward the bottom of the screen (under the GET IT information and just before the call number). Follow the prompts from there.

We'll get a copy of the book for you, within 4 days, from another university library. 

If the item is "in process" we'll expedite the process of getting the book ready for use and you'll be quickly notified by email. 

 

 

 

Museum Studies Beyond HOLLIS: Searching Library Databases

 

Academic Search Premier

This database will be an excellent next step after you've sampled what's available in HOLLIS. Academic Search Premier is also multidisciplinary in its coverage, also provides you with a range of article types (some scholarly, some not). But while still broad, it's a smaller universe than HOLLIS.

Google Scholar

Familiar and current, it also searches full-text which can be an advantage when you've got a very narrow topic or are seeking a "nugget" that traditional database searching can't surface easily. Google Scholar incorporates more types of information -- not just books and journal contents-- and depending on your need, comfort level, and perspective, that eclecticism can be an advantage.  

Google Scholar is perfectly acceptable for most general forays into scholarship; its algorithms are excellent and do return relevant results. 

NOTE: One simple change can turn Google Scholar into what's effectively a Harvard database -- with links to the full-text of articles that the library can provide. Here's what to do: 

  • Look to the left of the GS screen and click on the "hamburger" (); then click on 
  • Look for "Library Links." 
  • Then type Harvard University into the search box and save your choice.  As long as you allow cookies, the settings will keep. 

 

 

Creating Citations for Your Expos Paper

 

In your time at Harvard, you'll hear more than one librarian  suggest that you use Zotero, a "citation management tool."  Zotero will be great for big projects that require you to keep track of many sources -- like junior tutorials and senior theses (if you end up writing one).  

In the meantime, we recommend you generate citations with ZoteroBib

It's more reliable than the internal HOLLIS citation generator and you don't need an account or special software to use it.  Some of its handy features are described on this page.

Next semester, or next year, you might want to graduate into using Zotero itself.  It will take the process of collecting and organizing sources and  incorporating footnotes or in-text citations to the next level. 

A good guide, if you're interested, is available here: https://guides.library.harvard.edu/zotero