This site has been designed for students Professor Stephen Shoemaker's Extension School graduate proseminar.
The resources and strategies described on this page are specifically targeted: they represent our first best guesses at where you might find easy access to the scholarly and research literature on your immigration-related projects.
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 combinations before you strike gold.
Let me know if questions arise at any point in your project. We'll triage by email or set up a time to meet on Zoom for a personal consultation.
Enjoy your work!
Sue Gilroy, Research Librarian, Lamont Library
USING HOLLIS WELL: THREE CONSIDERATIONS
1. Understand what it 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.
2. Know how to work it.
Creating search strings with some of the techniques below can help you get better results up front.
3. Take control of your 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.
Try 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).
When you're far from Cambridge, identifying books in print and on shelves in Harvard's library buildings can seem like a futile exercise. You can, however, often get your hands on items you find in HOLLIS even if you live many miles away from the Yard.
1. WorldCat: this is a database of library catalogs and useful for identifying college, university, and other library collections that are in your vicinity.
Search for the title and then enter your ZIPCODE to identify potential options. You'll need to follow up about possible access, but a phone call can often do the trick!
2. Check the catalog of the large PUBLIC LIBRARY in your area. Depending on the region, the size of the library, its mission, and its funding, a local public library may have a significant research component to its collection (The Boston Public Library at Copley Square is a prime example), including e-books and some digitized materials that Harvard may not have.
Public libraries large and small also have access to ebooks, and can be a rich alternative source if Harvard doesn't have what you need or you can't get to our copy.
3. Ask your local library about an INTERLIBRARY LOAN.
Libraries routinely borrow from each other on behalf of their patrons; if you have a library card, you should be able to request it (or have a librarian do so). ILL can take a bit of time, however. You might wait a week or a bit more before the item arrives. Some places charge a small fee for the service.
4. If you live close by the college or university from which you graduated, ask about ALUMNI PRIVILEGES there.
DOCUMENT DELIVERY SERVICES AVAILABLE TO YOU:
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.
Harvard Library's extensive collection of e-resources can be browsed by clicking on the DATABASES tab at the top of this guide (and at the top of all library main pages).
To make your initial efforts at exploration more focused and less overwhelming, we recommend you start your immigration-themed research with one (or more) of these key resources:
IN DIGITIZED NEWSPAPER COLLECTIONS
Search across the contents of major U.S. dailies, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, St. Louis Post and Dispatch, and the Wall Street Journal.
Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers (Library of Congress)
An ongoing, long-term effort to digitize state and local newspapers published between 1777 and 1963. As well as searching contents, you can also access from here the US Newspaper Directory 1690-present, which comprehensively identifies publications and provides information on where to access them.
Search across the contents of 130 ethnic newspapers published in the U.S. in the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries. Created in partnership with the Historical Society of Pennsylvania.
Created in cooperation with the University of Houston, this new digital resource represents the single largest compilation of Spanish-language newspapers printed in the U.S. during the 19th and 20th centuries. The distinctive collection features hundreds of titles, including many published bilingually in Spanish and English.
A Harvard Library database of close to 15,000 newspapers, mainly from the U.S., many on the local level. The database is offered in partnership with Ancestry.com.
A Harvard Library database that allows you to broadly search the contents of state, local, and regional newspapers from 1607 through the 20th century. Smaller news outlets sometimes give a different perspective than major dailies and sometimes a fuller treatment of issues "close to home."
Though not everything you find will be in full-text, RGR allows you to canvass popular and general interest magazines across a 90 year span.
Digitized images of the pages of American magazines and journals published from colonial days to the dawn of the 20th century. Titles range from Benjamin Franklin's General Magazine to America's first scientific journal, Medical Repository; the collection includes popular magazines such as Vanity Fair and Ladies' Home Journal; regional and niche publications; and more.
IN SPECIALLY CONSTRUCTED/THEMED DATABASES
Voices from Ellis Island: An Oral History of American Immigration (ProQuest History Vault)
Transcripts of lengthy interviews, conducted during 1984 and 1985 with 185 individuals who either immigrated through, or worked at, Ellis Island during the peak of mass migration to the United States. The National Park Service produced these oral histories, in cooperation with the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. Themes include, among other things, leaving ones home country, assimilation, life on/experience at Ellis island. This database is also included in Immigration Records of the INS, 1880-1930.
Approximately 2,900 documents, compiled and transcribed by more than 300 writers from 24 states, working on the Folklore Project of the Federal Writers’ Project, a New Deal jobs program that was part of the U.S. Works Progress (later Work Projects) Administration (WPA) from 1936 to 1940. Typically 2,000-15,000 words in length, the documents vary in form from narratives to dialogues to reports to case histories. They chronicle vivid life stories of Americans who lived at the turn of the century, and include many immigrant narratives.
A collection of approximately 100,000 pages of information, providing a unique and personal view of what it meant to immigrate to America and Canada between 1800 and 1950
Translated radio and television broadcasts, newspapers, periodicals, government documents and books providing global insight on immigration in the mid-to-late 20th century. The materials were collected by the Foreign Broadcast Information Service (FBIS)—a government agency which became part of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1947-- and disseminated among government officials and decision makers. The reports begin with the refugee flows during World War II and cover all crises through 1996. No U.S. newspapers or broadcasts are included in this database.
In addition to an extensive selection of key treatises that reflect the social and cultural ferment of the late nineteenth century, The Gilded Age offers a wealth of rare materials, including songs, letters, photographs, cartoons, government documents, and ephemera, some of which might bear on a race or immigration-themed topic you're studying.
IN OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT RECORDS
Extensive collection of vital records, directories, censuses, military records, and other material from the United States and Canada, intended for genealogical research. Also includes fully-indexed, full-text images of United States federal census returns, 1790-1940.
Immigration Records of the INS,1880-1930 (ProQuest History Vault)
Includes the investigations made during the massive immigration wave at the turn of the 20th century. The files cover Asian immigration, especially Japanese and Chinese migration, to California, Hawaii, and other states; Mexican immigration to the U.S. from 1906-1930; and European immigration.
A source for legislation, hearings, witness testimony, reports, and more.
The U.S. Congressional Serial Set is an incomparably rich, yet in the past a largely untapped collection of primary source material detailing all aspects of American history. has proven invaluable to the research of U.S. political, social, cultural, military and ethnic history, as well as international relations, exploration expeditions across the country and throughout the world, genealogy, commerce, industrial development and much more. Its contents come not only from the U.S. Congress, but also include key Executive Department publications and publication series.
Remember that our catalog is old -- in the best sense of the word. You'll find a treasure trove of primary source documents there from all periods, in all languages, and from most parts of the world.
Think about time frame.
One easy way to find texts and other items that are roughly contemporaneous with your course readings is to modify a HOLLIS search you've run, using the date limiters that appear on the right hand side of the screen.
Load your linguistic dice.
Adding the word "sources" to a keyword search can be useful to find republished collections of primary sources. "Reader," "anthology," "documents" or "documentary" also can work well.
Think in terms of genre.
Instead of adding a general word like "sources," run your keyword search in HOLLIS. Then look for the Form/Genre filter on the left side of the results screen.
It's here you'll often find the richest variety of primarysources. Form/genre is commonly where you'll see primary sources of these types: correspondence (the official way of describing letters; diaries; exhibitions; speeches; memoirs; notebooks; personal narratives; pictorial works (a traditional way of identifying a collection of images); photographs.
Scour finding aids.
Manuscripts that are held by Harvard libraries, like Houghton, will usually have an online finding aid linked to their HOLLIS records. Finding aids are detailed item-by-item descriptions of everything in a particular collection. Typically, finding aids will also provide contextual information, like biography, scope/content notes, preferred citation methods, etc. Finding aid URLs appear below the title in a HOLLIS manuscript record.
Think backward from a secondary source.
Remember that the secondary literature you find (scholarly journals and books) will themselves be built on primary source materials. Canvass the bibliographies and footnotes; if the primary documents exist in a published form (rather than being unique to an archive you may not have access to), consider tracking them down at Harvard (if you're close to Cambridge) or (if you're not) at a library near you.
If you've used NoodleTools or EasyBib in a past academic life -- or even if you've figured out the the pin and cite options in HOLLIS -- Zotero will take you to a whole new level.
This free, open source citation management tool makes the process of collecting and organizing citations, incorporating them into your paper, and creating a bibliography or works cited page stress-free and nearly effortless.
It's worth the small investment of time to learn Zotero. A good guide, produced by Harvard librarians, is available here: http://guides.library.harvard.edu/zotero.
If J-Term is not the time to to take on Zotero, consider using ZoteroBib for your SSCI project.
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.