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Social Sciences E-100B (Shoemaker)

J-Term 2021



This resource guide 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


HOLLIS: Discovering Harvard's Research Collections




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. 


When you search "everything"  searching both of these databases together, at once. For better or for worse, "everything" is our system default. 


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. 


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).

Experiment with limiting your searches to materials available  
You'll reduce your numbers of books by a wide margin --not always a good strategy, but an expedient one in exigent circumstances.  Learn more about strategies under the Pandemic Considerations tab. 





Despite the fact that our physical items are unavailable and buildings are shuttered, HOLLIS can and should continue to be a key research resource, wherever students are.  That's in part because of the sheer size and enormous variety of what it contains, but also because the content students can surface there is substantial.  

Here are some ways to think through your digital options in HOLLIS:

1. Scan & Deliver

This service, free to Harvard students even before the pandemic, can be a lifesaver when you find something in the catalog that's essential -- but only available in print.

Scan & Deliver allows you to request a PDF of an article, a portion of a book (up to two chapters), and in some circumstances, a portion of one of our special collections. 

NOTE: Initiate Scan and Deliver requests through HOLLIS.

2. Hathi Trust Temporary Emergency Access Library 

IHathiTrust has a digitized copy, you'll be able to check it out, reserves-style. Presently, loans are given for 1 hour, automatically renewable if there's no waiting list for the item you're using.

Hathi Trust materials can't be downloaded or printed out (when they're in copyright), but the upside is that you'll have excellent access to our collection in print, even when you can't use the print. 

Normally, your access to HathiTrust items is seamless via Harvard; when you see the record details, click on the   link to initiate check out.

NOTE: If you go directly into HathiTrust through the link above, be sure you click on the button, top right  and choose Harvard University.

3. Internet Archive Open Library

For books not available online via a HOLLIS link or through HathiTrust, the Open Library may be a good next step. You'll need to create a free account to "check out" books (temporarily, for up to 2 weeks).  

4. Lamont West Door Pickup (if you're in / near Cambridge)

Materials that are available for checkout are requested online via HOLLIS; they are paged for you by library staff. When they are ready, you receive an email directing you to schedule a pick up time (15-minutes windows, as available)


5. Borrow Direct (if you're in / near Cambridge)

Materials that we do not have -- or that are otherwise unavailable -- might be owned by one of our consortial partners (the other Ivies, MIT, U Chicago, Johns Hopkins, and Stanford). 

If you live close by one our consortial partners, you can inquire about the current availability of Borrow Direct Plus. In normal times, that gives you on-site access to stacks and collections; in COVID times, it may enable front-door/curbside pick-up.



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 your find in HOLLIS even if you live many miles away from the Yard.


1.  WorldCatthis 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 your options.

With WorldCat, you're going beyond the BorrowDirect consortium and beyond our reciprocal lending agreements.  However, as long as any of the area libraries allow you in (often a phone call or a scan of the website will clarify policy), you'll be in luck!

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.

Moreover, because you are a Harvard student, you're eligible for a BPL ecard, no matter where you're Zooming in from these days; you'll need to sign in with your Harvard email and key to get access, however. See BPL: Who's Eligible for an Ecard? for the registration link.


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. 

5. If you live close by the college or university from which you graduated, ask about ALUMNI PRIVILEGES there; even in COVID times, it's good to check on your options.

Contexts and Backgrounds


The Making of Modern Immigration: An Encyclopedia of People and Ideas

This encyclopedia addresses the major historical themes and contemporary research trends related to U.S. immigration, canvassing all the major policy endeavors on immigration in the last two centuries.

In addition to documenting immigration policy, the contributors devote extensive attention to the historiography of immigration, supplementing theories with cutting-edge sociological data.



The Oxford Handbook of American Immigration and Ethnicity

This handbook brings together twenty-nine leading scholars in the field to make sense of all the themes, methodologies, and trends that characterize the debate on American immigration.

They examine a wide range of topics, including panethnicity, whiteness, intermarriage, bilingualism, religion, museum ethnic displays, naturalization, regional mobility, immigration legislation and its reception, ethnicity-related crime and gang formation, and the forms of communication with the homeland. 

The Handbook focuses on the cutting-edge issues and questions to answer three important questions What are scholars now studying? How has the field of immigration studies changed over time?  Where is the field heading? 

The Oxford Bibliographies Online combine the best features of the annotated bibliography with an authoritative subject encyclopedia.

Often the issue in information-seeking isn't scarcity of material but overabundance.

OBO entries can help you solve the problem of knowing what or who to read or which voices in the conversation you should give some fuller attention to.

OBO updates quarterly, to keep material current. Examples of broadly relevant bibliographies relevant for SSCI E-100B include:

Subject Databases: Scholarship Beyond HOLLIS and Google Scholar

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've identified some of the "gold standards" in the research areas you've identified. 

  • Academic Search Premiermultidisciplinary; current; mix of news, magazines, scholarly journals
  • JStormultidisciplinary mix of key scholarly journals; usually has an embargo on the most recent 1-3 years
  • America: History and Lifefocuses exclusively on scholarship about the U.S. and Canada, prehistory to present
  • Ethnic NewsWatch: includes key journals on ethnicities and ethnic studies, together with news and magazines produced by native and minority presses
  • Race Relations Abstracts: covers essential areas related to this topic, including ethnic studies, discrimination, and immigration studies.


Image above: Harvard Social Museum Collection, Settlement House, Philadelphia, c.1903.  Harvard Museums.  Available in HOLLIS. 


Uncovering Primary Sources



Search across the contents of major U.S. dailies, including the New York Times, Washington PostLos Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Philadelphia Inquirer, St. Louis Post and Dispatch, and the Wall Street Journal. 

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 database of close to 15,000 newspapers, mainly from the U.S., many on the local level.  The database is offered in partnership with

A 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 isses "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. 

D​igitized 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.



Ancestry Library Edition

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.

ProQuest Congressional

A source for legislation, hearings, witness testimony, reports, and more. 

U.S. Serial Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994

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.


Voices from Ellis Island: An Oral HIstory of American Immigration (ProQuest History Vault)

Transcripts of lengthy interviews, conducted 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, during 1984-1985. 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.

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940 

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.

North American Immigrant Letters, Diaries and Oral Histories

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

Immigrations, Migrations, and Refugees: Global Perspectives 1941-1996

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.

The Gilded Age

 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. This primary content is enhanced by video interviews with scholars and numerous topical critical documentary essays. The database covers such themes as race, labor, immigration, commerce, western expansion, and women’s suffrage,

American Indian Histories and Culture​​​

A collection that documents interactions between American Indians and Europeans from their earliest contact, through the American Civil War, the on-going repercussions of government legislation, and up to the civil rights movement of the mid- to late-twentieth century.  


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. Some tips:



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.


Adding the word "sources" to a keyword search can be useful to find republished collections ofprimary sources. "Reader," "anthology," "documents" or "documentary" also can work well. 



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.


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. 


​Remember that the secondary sources you find  (scholarly journals and books) will themselves be built on primary source materials.  Scour the bibliographies and footnotes; if the documents exist in 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. 




RELATED: Finding Your Way Through Finding Aids (Dorothy Berry, Houghton Library)


Tools for Locating Full-Text and Managing Your Sources


Google Scholar Settings: 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.  

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: