The Harvard University Library has been delivering electronic resources via the Web since 1994, when the navigational system HOLLIS Plus was launched with 17 resources available. The system now provides access to over 1,400 electronic resources and also allows direct access to the online catalogs, library Web sites, and information about the libraries at Harvard in a newly designed interface to be known as HOLLIS.

A desire to present the range of library resources and services in one central site, or portal, coupled with an ever-increasing array of information resources were the driving forces for the development of HOLLIS, which debuted on August 20. Initial reaction to the new site is highly favorable, with some patrons delighting in the availability, for the first time, of an hours display that includes all libraries, and others commenting on the usefulness of the “Quick Jump” feature on the E-Resources page.

Development of the HOLLIS site involved many library representatives, committees, and task groups who addressed such topics as subject organization and categorization, catalog linking, search features, interface design, as well as the organization of pertinent library information. The coordination of these groups and the overall project management was led by Caren Smith, Senior Systems Librarian in OIS, in consultation with the University Library Council, which monitored progress of the project at all phases and solicited staff and patron input.

Menus allow improved site navigation—A persistent menu bar displays at the top of every page, allowing the user to jump to any other section of the site.

Site Map provides the full view—The structure and organization of the site is provided with links to each page.

Searching Made Easy—The HOLLIS portal site offers an expanded set of search options. Of particular interest is a Library Web space link that allows searching of the across HOLLIS in addition to individual Harvard library Web sites. This expanded search capability allows library patrons to find resources or links to resources that are contained on library pages but not part of the HOLLIS catalog or the HOLLIS electronic resources listing. For example, a search for “Catholic Encyclopedia” will not match against any of the electronic resources listed on the HOLLIS site, but will lead to relevant sources on a number of library Web sites.

Users can still view the site’s nearly 1,300 electronic resources alphabetically, by subject, or by type, but improvements to these listings allow for easier access. For example, clicking on the E-Resources choice from the main menu reveals three main choices: “A to Z”, “By subject” and “By type.”

Subject categorization of resources has been improved several ways. The HOLLIS portal uses LC call numbers from the HU database to classify resources that in turn generate the subject headings listed on the portal. The number of broad subject headings has increased providing broader access points and a better sense of the types of electronic resources acquired by Harvard’s libraries. Electronic journals are now included in the subject listings. The classification and display of subject categories will continue to be assessed and revised based on input from library staff and their patrons.

Resources displayed by type are “Dictionaries and Encyclopedias,” “Directories and Guides,” “Electronic Journal Collections,” “Electronic Journals,” “Electronic Texts,” “Indexes and Abstracts,” “Library Catalogs,” Library Web Sites,” “Statistics Sources,” in addition to a broad “Other” category.

A popular feature on the E-Resources page is the ability to combine a selection from a subject jump list and a selection from a resource type jump list to see the intersection. For example, select “Arts and Architecture” from the subject jump list and “Indexes and abstracts” from the type jump list, click “Go” and receive a list of indexes and abstracts in that subject area.

Letter icons to the left of each resource title indicate special conditions that the user will want to consider: trial resource (T), full text (F), Harvard ID required (I), campus access only (C), and APC proxy in use (A). A key explaining the meaning of these icons appears at the top of column.

Information about Harvard’s libraries is integrated into the portal site and has been updated to include: “Lists of Libraries” (A to Z and by faculty or affiliation), a map of library locations, a comprehensive hours display, and links to the events and exhibitions calendar and staff resources.

A display page of basic information includes contact information, address and directions, holdings, and access policies. These basic information pages also link back to a library’s Web site. The “Library Hours” option provides hours information for all Harvard libraries. The basic information and hours pages are stored in a central database but are maintained by individual libraries via a Web-based form.

Implementation of the new HOLLIS portal site means changes to URLs and to the way individual electronic resources are identified.

For a few months, browsers pointing to the old HOLLIS Plus URL [http://hplus.harvard.edu/] will be redirected to the portal site. Harvard Web sites with links to the current HOLLIS Plus service should plan to change these URLs to point to the HOLLIS portal.


Copyright © 2000 The President and Fellows of Harvard College