Does HOLLIS search inside Harvard Library databases?

It is a common assumption that if you search HOLLIS, you are searching everything the library has access to. But HOLLIS does not search inside our databases

What's actually happening

HOLLIS searches the "Everything" index, which is an independently compiled collection of publisher-provided citations. The contents of our databases are only partially represented in the “Everything” index.

Why it matters

How much this matters to you will depend heavily on the type of search you want to do as well as the field or discipline you’re working in.

You will find citations in HOLLIS that look like they came from one of our databases (such as JSTOR, Web of Science, etc.). Some of these citations are provided to HOLLIS by the database vendors themselves, but most come from publishers, and there are usually small but important differences between the citation as it appears in HOLLIS and a database’s citation for the same item. Basic information such as title and author will be largely the same, but the more additional detail you’re interested in, such as abstract, subject terms, or other key descriptors, the more differences you’ll notice.

Even for databases that provide HOLLIS with a full export of their contents, it can still be a good idea to search the database’s own interface, which will be structured differently and may offer advantages not available in HOLLIS, such as more precise or customizable search options and links to full text or datasets. 

More details about which databases share information with HOLLIS are available at HOLLIS: Sources of Content. (Log in with your Harvard Key to view the list of “PCI collections.”)

Have another HOLLIS question? Our HOLLIS User Guide provides an overview of HOLLIS's features and functions.

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