Am I able to access the Harvard Libraries' electronic research databases, e-journals and electronic resources?

Almost all of Harvard's electronic research databases are legally licensed for access only to Harvard students, faculty, and staff. Unfortunately, unless you are affiliated with Harvard, they cannot be made available to you. 

Many public libraries now provide access to extensive online resources, and if there's a university library near you, they may allow visitor access. If you need a particular article, you can ask your local library to acquire it for you. Check with a reference librarian at your library for further information and assistance.

Some excellent databases are freely accessible on the Internet. Many universities now maintain open-access repositories of research produced by their affiliates; Harvard's is called DASH. Google Scholar and Google Books provide full-text searching of thousands of articles, books and web sites, some of which are available online at no charge.  You can also obtain scholarly articles through the Directory of Open Access Journals or HighWire for arts and humanities.  You can now access articles from the excellent JSTOR database through their My JSTOR program which allows anyone to freely read, but not copy or download, up to three articles every two weeks.  JSTOR also has an individual subscription program, JPASS; see the site for more information.

We wish you well with your research.

Service Alert:
  • Ask a Librarian, including chat and email, will be suspended from 5:00 pm on Thursday, December 22, through Monday, January 2, for the holiday break. Any questions received during this period will be answered beginning Tuesday, January 2, 2024.
  • If If you're experiencing an ongoing technical issue when you attempt to access library materials with your HarvardKey during these times, please report it to Library Technology Services.



Monday-Thursday 9am-9pm

Friday-Saturday 9am-5pm

Sunday 12noon-7pm

Chat is intended for brief inquiries from the Harvard community.


Talk to a librarian for advice on defining your topic, developing your research strategy, and locating and using sources. Make an appointment now.

These services are intended primarily for Harvard University faculty, staff and students. If you are not affiliated with Harvard, please use these services only to request information about the Library and its collections.