Guidance for Finding Foreign-Language Materials in the Harvard Libraries

Overview: (linked from


Contact a librarian:


To focus your HOLLIS results to items in a specific language:


  1. Use the “Language” filter after you search to refine down to a specific language (usually on the right side of the page)
  2. Go to Advanced Search and select a language from the “Language” drop-down before you search
  3. Use the Code: MARC Language option
  • Use filters to narrow further, e.g. Resource Type: film/video


Find language-learning materials (such as textbooks):


1. In HOLLIS (options may be limited)


Use the “subject” field in HOLLIS Advanced Search and add:

  • [name of language]


(choose one of the following subject terms)

  • “Study and teaching”
  • Grammar
  • Textbooks
  • “Conversation and phrase books”
  • Dictionaries


2. In nearby public libraries (options often more extensive)


Cambridge Public Library and Boston Public Library may offer more sources of language-learning materials. Try the same searches outlined above in their catalogs: Minuteman Catalog (includes Cambridge Public Library); Boston Public Library catalog.


3. In BorrowDirect and WorldCat (for less common languages)


If working in a less common language, you will need to search farther afield:


Find fiction and films in HOLLIS:


HOLLIS Advanced Search



Explore databases of foreign-language texts, streaming media, and more:


Tips for searching



Find entire collections:


On, try one or two simple search terms for a language, country, region, or culture to learn more about particular areas of focus in the library’s holdings as well as the experts who curate them.