The resources and strategies described on this page are specifically targeted: they represent our first best guesses at where you might find scholarly information to inform your final essays and capstone projects.
Remember that good research often begins with hunches and hypotheses: about where an academic conversation is "happening," and about what words and search strings might surface it. Good researching is also about being observant as you consider where else (or to what else) your initial reading may lead you. And good research is all about patience: you may need to try several combinations of search terms before you strike gold.
LIBRARY CATALOG OR EVERYTHING: WHAT'S WHAT?
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" you're searching both of these databases together, at once. For better or for worse, "everything" is our system default.
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).
1. Use QUOTATION MARKS for phrases:
"united states" || "video games"
2. Connect search terms and phrases explicitly with AND/OR and do so with capital letters:
"video games" AND children AND violence
3. Enclose synonyms or interchangeable concepts in PARENTHESES:
(women OR gender) AND soccer AND (pay OR equality)
4. Truncate words with an ASTERISK to pick up alternatives:
politic* will also retrieve politics, political, politician (etc.)
5. FILTER your results via right side limit categories.
You can sharpen up and whittle down your search results to peer reviewed articles or by date, language, resource type (and more).
6. Take advantage of special system features: always sign in.
7. STORE the items you want to track down or read later via the icon; SAVE a good search so you can remember what worked.
PRO SEARCHING TIPS
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 online content students can surface there is substantial.
1. Search HOLLIS as you typically would (we give some advice on constructing effective search strings here). Results can then be limited, via the right-side filters, to materials ONLINE.
The limiter for online materials (like other filters) can be locked for the duration of your HOLLIS search session. When you apply the filter, it will, by default, look like this: When locked, the icon color changes to blue:
Locking filters is a useful option when you want to modify a search, do a completely new search, jump to a subject heading string,etc. You can mix and match locked and unlocked filters, too, as in this example:
2. Many publishers are opening up temporary, emergency access to a wide array of e-books, textbooks, and digital materials that fuel scholarship. Listed below are several that may have particular utility for students and faculty working on social science and interdisciplinary research projects, including those for Expos 20.
University of Michigan E-Book Platform
HathiTrust Emergency Library: If we have it, and HathiTrust has a digitized copy, you'll be able to check it out, reserves-style. Presently, loan are given for 1 hour, renewable if there's no waiting list. The key here is be sure you click on the button, top right and choose Harvard University.
NOTE: Harvard Libraries do not, at present, subscribe to all of the e-book collections offering expanded, free access to their content. Access will most likely sometime between late-April and June 2020 (depending on the publisher).
The first and still most widely known full-text journal database, trusted for its content. JSTOR covers core scholarly journals in 75 fields.
The most recent issues of journals may not even appear in a JSTOR search, however, if they are behind the database's 1-5 year "moving wall."
This database can be a good next step once you've explored content available in HOLLIS, particularly if you feel overwhelmed -- or sometimes, underwhelmed -- by the journal and article search results you've uncovered there.
While much of what ASP searches is from scholarly sources, generous amounts also come from newspaper and general interest magazines. Like HOLLIS, ASP casts a wide net, so you might see your topic treated from a number of disciplinary angles or through a variety of theoretical lenses.
Covers the international literature in the social sciences, so this database allows you to search across fields like politics, sociology, anthropology, criminology and education.
Perfectly acceptable for most general forays into scholarship, its algorithms are excellent and do return relevant results. This database 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 is also an excellent way to follow CITATION TRAILS. Enter the title of a book or journal article and then click on "Cited by" when the item appears. If the cited references are very numerous, consider keyword searching with them.
One simple change can turn Google Scholar into what's effectively another multidisciplinary 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 home 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.
A large, full-text collection of English language news sources -- state, national, and international. Coverage begins (roughly) around 1980 for most of these sources. This database has nice features: the ability to search transcripts of TV and radio broadcasts, for example, and to limit to editorial and opinion pages.
Consider this e-resource as your best alternative to NexisUni. Owned by the Dow Jones company, Factiva allows you to search across 8000 or so news publications from the U.S. and around the world.
Full-text coverage sometimes extends further back than the 1980 cut-off point for Lexis-Nexis. Factiva allows for broad searching (but change the date parameters if your topic stretches back more than 3 months!). Results are nicely subdivided into categories on the left side of the screen for easier navigation.
For topics that were in the news earlier than 1980, this suite of databases (which includes the digitized content of important papers like th NYT, Boston Globe, LA Times, Washington Post (and more) is the obvious choice.
1995 is something of an arbitrary date marker; how much recent content you get in a historical newspaper database can vary from newspaper title to newspaper title.
But in general, if you think "older" news (25 years), think Proquest Historical first.
Algerié (ECPAD, Agence d'Images de la Defensé)
Child Soldiers (Internet Archive: film footage, interviews, recorded testimony, etc.)
Homeland Security Digital Library (limit by "publisher" -- i.e., government department or agency; by resource type; and more)
ProQuest Civil War: primary source materials which feature selected newspapers (from northern, southern, and border states) and pamphlets on slavery, abolition, and the war.
Homeland Security Digital Library: limit by "publisher" -- i.e., government department or agency; by resource type (CRS reports are helpful as these are issue briefs for Congress), etc.
Women's Magazine Archive (late 19th century - c. 2005)
Women's Studies (ProQuest History Vault)
World War I Centennial, National Archives (UK)