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Research FAQs

There are more than 70 libraries at Harvard, with extensive collections in numerous subject areas. Each library has its own policies and procedures and can be consulted for speciic questions and for assistance with research. While some Harvard Library buildings are open to the public, most require a valid Harvard ID for admittance. Learn more by visiting the individual library page
 
Research FAQs are under development and will continue to be added.

 
 

Topics

 
 
 

I am outside the US. Why can't I see the full text of this title?

The book has been deemed out of copyright in the US, but not necessarily in other countries. As a result Google has restricted access to inside the US. The limitation has been put in place by Google and not by Harvard.

Why isn't my title available in Google Books?

Harvard digitized only titles that are out of copyright. If a volume was determined to be out of copyright, then it was also evaluated to meet other guidelines, such as passing an evaluation of physical condition. As a result, some out-of-copyright items may not have been included.

Where are the links to the other volumes for this title?

Links are available only for volumes that are available electronically. Some volumes may not be available electronically, so check HOLLIS for other copies or Ask a Librarian for assistance.

Where are the links to the more recent issues of a journal?

The Harvard Library and Google collaborated on a project to digitize a large number of Harvard's library books that are out of copyright and to make them available via the Internet. For more recent issues of a journal, check HOLLIS or ask a librarian for assistance.

Does Harvard have any of the volumes that are not on this list?

Harvard has many volumes and titles that are not available electronically. If a volume does not appear, please check HOLLIS for other copies or ask a librarian for assistance.

Are these the only volumes that will be available in electronic form?

Harvard is constantly adding to its collection of electronic resources. Additional links may be created in the future, but some volumes may never be available electronically so check HOLLIS for other copies or ask a librarian for assistance.

Why do these links go to Google Book Search?

The Harvard University Library and Google collaborated on a project to digitize a large number of Harvard's library books that are out of copyright and make them available via the Internet.

How can I bookmark links to a volume?

To bookmark a specific volume, use the link next to the Full Text button. To bookmark a title that has multiple volumes, use the link in HOLLIS that begins with http://nrs.harvard.edu. These are persistent URLs that Harvard will support indefinitely.

How can I report a problem with a link?

Please report it to the Harvard Library.

How can I report a problem with individual book page images (pages out of order, upside down, not legible, etc.)?

Please report it directly to the Google Book Search team at books-support@google.com.


 
 
 

 How can I get help with RefWorks, Zotero, EndNote or other citation tools?

Please see this guide. For Zotero, see this guide.  

How can I get help with my assignment, research paper or dissertation?

Harvard's Research Librarians are eager to assist you. You can review Research FAQ, Ask a Librarian or request a research appointment

How do I get permission to publish materials from the Harvard Library?

Requests for permission to publish should be directed to the library that holds the material. Consult the individual library page for more information.


 
 
 

To which e-resources does Harvard provide access?

Harvard scholars have access to a wide variety of Web-based infromation sources, including research databases and collections, journal indexes, the full text of many scholarly journals and newspapers, Web guides and much more. To access most of these licensed resources, you must have an active Harvard ID and PIN or use a Library workstation.
To search Harvard's e-resources, use the search module on the Library portal homepage, then opt to search by title, A-Z list or by subject area.

How do I find an image in Harvard's collections?

Search Visual Information Access (VIA), a union catalog of visual resources and images at Harvard.

What is VIA?

VIA (Visual Information Access) is a union catalog of visual resources and images at Harvard.

How can I find a manuscript in Harvard's collection?

Use OASIS (Online Archival Search Information System), which provides electronic access to information about manuscript and archival collections at Harvard.

What is OASIS?

OASIS (Online Archival Search Information System) provides electronic access to information about manuscript and archival collections at Harvard.

How do I access materials in Archives and Special Collections?

Material held by some archives and special collections at Harvard can be requested through HOLLIS for use in the owning repository’s reading room. Use the Request Item links provided in the HOLLIS records. Contact the owning repository directly for information on how to access material that can’t be requested through HOLLIS. 
Hours and reading room policies vary among the many archives and special collections at Harvard; be sure to check their websites for current information. A full list of archives and special collections at Harvard can be found here. For general information about using archives and special collections at Harvard, check here.

How do I find materials at Harvard?

Start with the search box on the Harvard Library home page. The Finding Materials at Harvard page has suggestions for locating different types of materials. Please note that not all library resources are fully represented in the online catalogs. If you don’t find what you are looking for, visit Ask a Librarian.

How do I find geospatial/mapping materials?

There are a number of sources for geospatial data.  For downloadable GIS-ready maps and data, search the Harvard Geospatial Library (HGL).  There are also GIS data sets and other GIS materials listed in the HOLLIS catalog.  Both the Harvard Map Collection and Cabot Library have thousands of paper maps on their shelves, some of which are not cataloged in any online system; these materials can be found by visiting the library in person.

How do I find the book I need?

Use the search module on the Library portal homepage. Select Books from the left-hand menu and then select the specific resource you would like to search. You can search by author, title, keyword, subject and more.

What is HGL?

The Harvard Geospatial Library (HGL) is an online repository dedicated to data that can be used in a Geographic Information System.  This includes base mapping data like roads, rivers, & administrative boundaries as well as quantitative data like census demographics.  There are also hundreds of scanned maps available, both modern and historic, which have been georeferenced to their proper locations on the earth’s surface. All of these data are available for download (some require a Harvard ID and PIN) complete with all of the descriptive metadata that is needed to view them in a GIS package such as ArcGIS or QGIS.

How do I find an article in a journal or a newspaper?

Use the seach module on the Library portal homepage. Select Articles from the left-hand menu, then select the specific resource you would like to search. Depending on the resource you select, you can search by keyword, title and/or author. If you have an article citation and would like to see if Harvard has access to that journal, use the Citation Linker.

What's the difference between HOLLIS and HOLLIS Classic?

Use HOLLIS on your mobile device, or download the iPhone app.

HOLLIS offers keyword searching, and is good for discovery. It does not provide the same precision as HOLLIS Classic.

Use HOLLIS for

  • Simple single search box
  • Relevance ranked results
  • Easy options to refine your search by library location, date, language, format, and more
  • Spelling corrections and variant spellings
  • More searchable Tables of Content than are available in HOLLIS Classic
  • Images (from VIA)
  • Finding Aids (from OASIS)

HOLLIS Classic allows you to search or browse by exact author name or subject words, search "exact phrases," and search in non-Roman characters. Expanded Search makes it easier to do more complex searches by combining search words with "AND," "OR," and "NOT."

HOLLIS Classic reflects immediate updates to bibliographic and holding information as they are made by staff.

Use HOLLIS Classic for

  • More powerful advanced searching
  • Browsable lists of authors, titles, or subjects
  • Call number searching and browsing
  • Searching in non-Roman characters (Chinese, Arabic, etc.)

Neither HOLLIS nor HOLLIS Classic supports article level searches. To locate articles by citation, use Citation Linker. To discover articles by topic or author, use E-Research at Harvard Libraries.

How do I find a journal?

Use the search module on the Library portal homepage. Select Journals from the left-hand menu, then select one of the two options: Citation Linker and Browse E-Journals List.
Citation Linker finds journals online and in print. Use it to locate a journal or one specific article. It simultaneously searches Harvard's e-journal subscriptions and HOLLIS. 

The E-Journals List allows you to browse or search by e-journal title or subject.

How do I find a newspaper?

Use the search module on the Library portal homepage. Select News from the left-hand menu, then select one of the three options: LexisNexis, Factiva or Historical Newspapers.
LexisNexis searches thousands of domestic and some international news sources, and business and legal materials including case law, statutes and law reviews. Harvard ID and PIN required.
Factiva searches thousands of business and news publications from around the globe in many languages. Includes The Wall Street Journal and Boston Globe. Harvard ID and PIN required.
ProQuest Historical Newspapers searches the digital archives of major newspapers including The New York Times. Search one or all at once. Scope of coverage varies. Harvard ID and PIN required.
 
 
 
 


 
 
 

Are Harvard's libraries open to the public?

While some Harvard library buildings are open to the public, most require a valid Harvard ID for admittance. Borrowing privileges, which vary, are generally limited to current members of the Harvard community. For information about a specific library, please visit the individual library page.

Does my Harvard ID get me into all the libraries?

 

Generally, yes. However, the details may vary between libraries. Check the individual library page for more information.

 

Can I have books from one Harvard library delivered to another Harvard library?

 

At this time, the Library does not have an official book delivery service for any books except those housed at the Harvard Depository. The Library is looking into what it would take to offer this type of service. 

 

What do I do if Harvard does not have the materials I need?

 

The Harvard Library Get It service provides Harvard students, faculty, staff with several options for locating and requesting library materials from Borrow Direct, Scan and Deliver as well as from other libraries. You can also suggest items for the Library to purchase.

 

How do I borrow and renew materials?

 

To borrow items from The Harvard Library, take them with your ID to the appropriate circulation desk, and the staff will check them out to you. A growing number of libraries have self-checkout kiosks where you can checkout books as long as you have your ID card.  

As long as no other library patron needs them, you can renew books five times. Use My Accounts to access your account. You will need the first eight digits of your ID and your PIN. 

For more information, please see Ask a Librarian.

 

Can I return materials to any Harvard library?

 

You are welcome to return most material to any Harvard library; however, reserves and interlibrary loan items should be returned directly to the library from which they were borrowed.

 

What do I do about fines?

 

The policies for fines vary among Harvard's libraries. Please contact the appropriate library directly.

 

What if an item I need is checked out to someone else?

You can recall the book and the patron who has it is required to return it within seven days. To initiate a recall, click on the “Request Item” link through the item record in HOLLIS.You can also request the book through Borrow Direct and receive it within about four business days. 

What do I do if material is on reserve?

To find readings held on reserve for a Harvard course, use the HOLLIS catalog and click on Reserves in the top menu for the most complete listing. The Reserves section includes items that the full catalog does not, such as reprints and materials on loan from instructors. Note that some libraries do not use the HOLLIS catalog for reserves and that you might need to visit these libraries for information about course readings.

Who can use Harvard's libraries?

Harvard's 70+ libraries serve the University's current faculty, students, staff and researchers who hold valid Harvard ID's. Policies on admittance, borrowing, hours and services vary by library. For information on a specific library, please visit the individual library page.