Widener Library

Finding Materials in Widener


How to Find Books

  1. Find the Call Number in HOLLIS
    Bibliographic information can be accessed in the HOLLIS catalog, the Harvard OnLine Library Information System. Computers are available in the Periodicals Reading Room, the Phillips Reading Room, the Newspaper Microfilm Reading Room, and throughout the stacks. For assistance, consult staff in Research Services on the Second Floor or at the Information Desk on the First Floor. When searching HOLLIS for a call number, please remember to click on the availability button to check if an item is in use, at the Harvard Depository, or unbound in the Periodicals Reading Room.
  2. Know the difference between the two call number systems
    Note that Widener uses two separate classification systems to shelve books: the Old Widener System and the Library of Congress System indicated by call numbers that begin with WID-LC. When you are looking for a book in the stacks, it is important to be aware that the call numbers progress differently within each classification.

    In the Old Widener System, call numbers contain whole numbers and are separated by periods that do not confer a decimal value. OW call numbers progress as follows:
    BP BP BP
    819.7 819.8 819.25

    In Library of Congress WID-LC Classes, call numbers are separated by periods that do confer a decimal value. WID-LC call numbers progress as follows:

    WID-LC
    BP
    819.25
    WID-LC
    BP
    819.7
    WID-LC
    BP
    819.8
  3. Check the Widener Call Number Location Charts for where your call number is shelved
    Call Number Location Charts that indicate where in the stacks a call number can be found are posted at the main entrance of and throughout the stacks, and are also available as hand-outs in Circulation, Reference, or as a PDF file further down this page. A diagram of the organization of the Widener stacks is also available further down this page and offers a visual overview of collection locations in the stacks.

    Please note: If you are looking for a recent periodical issue, it may not yet be bound and in the stacks. Please check HOLLIS availability for exact shelving locations.

  4. Enter the Stacks
    The entrance to the stacks is on the First Floor through Circulation. This entrance leads directly into Level-1 East of the Widener stacks and to an elevator or stairs to access all other Widener stack levels. See Organization of Widener Collections for a visual overview of collection locations in the stacks.

    To find out if you are eligible to enter the stacks, see the Admittance page.

  5. Understand the Layout of the Stacks
    Level 1 of the Widener stacks is even with the First Floor of the building. Above Level 1 rise Levels 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Below Level 1 are Levels A, B, C, and D. The Widener stacks are laid out in two sectors: East and West. Patrons can cross between East and West on all levels except A, B, and C.

    Some Widener materials are located in Pusey Library, which is an underground facility located to the east of Widener. A tunnel leads from the Level-D East elevator into Pusey, Level 2.

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How to Find Periodicals

  1. Find the periodical title in HOLLIS
    Bibliographic information can be accessed in the HOLLIS Catalog. Computers are available in Circulation, the Periodicals Reading Room, the Newspaper Microfilm Reading Room, the Phillips Reading Room, the Second Floor and throughout the stacks. For assistance, consult staff in the Periodicals Reading Room on the First Floor, Reference Services on the Second Floor, or Information Desk on the First Floor.
  2. The Current Periodicals Collection
    Current Periodicals (unbound issues generally received within the past two years) are shelved in the Periodicals Reading Room on the First Floor and adjacent Periodicals Reading Room Stacks. Journals in the Periodicals Reading Room are arranged alphabetically by title. The majority of the current periodicals collection is shelved in the Periodicals Reading Room Stacks (next to the Reading Room) and is arranged by call number.

    Notes in the HOLLIS record for periodicals in Widener indicate where the current periodical is shelved in the Periodicals Reading Room collection. The following notes appear in HOLLIS:

    [Current Issues: Periodicals Reading Room] Shelved alphabetically by title in the Periodicals Reading Room.

    [Current Issues: Periodicals Reading Room - Consult Periodical Desk] Shelved behind the service desk.

    [Current Issues: Periodicals Reading Room – Area Studies] A portion of the Middle Eastern, Slavic, and Judaica collection is shelved alphabetically by title in the Area Studies section of the Periodicals Reading Room.

    [Current Issues: Periodicals Reading Room Stacks] Shelved by call number in the Periodicals Reading Room Stacks. The first rows are old Widener (call number) materials, followed by Library of Congress (call number) materials.

    Please note that Widener uses two separate classification or call number systems: the old Widener system (OW) and the Library of Congress system which is indicated by call numbers that begin with WID-LC.

    In Old Widener Classes, call numbers are separated by periods that do not confer a decimal value. OW classes progress as follows:

    BP
    819.7
    BP
    819.8
    BP
    819.25

    In WID-LC Classes, call numbers are separated by periods that do have a decimal value. WID-LC classes progress as follows:

    WID-LC
    BP
    819.25

    WID-LC
    BP
    819.7

    WID-LC
    BP
    819.8

    Newspapers
    Widener Library subscribes to many domestic and international newspapers. A selection of the most frequently used newspapers is shelved in the newspaper case in the Periodicals Reading Room. Older issues of these papers and current issues of all other newspapers are kept in the newspaper section at the end of the Periodicals Reading Room Stacks. Back issues of newspapers may also be located on microform in the Newspaper Microfilm Reading Room in Widener. Consult HOLLIS or Periodicals staff for assistance.

    HOLLIS notes for newspapers include:

    [Current Issues: Periodicals Newspaper Stacks] Shelved alphabetically by title in the newspaper section at the end of the Periodicals Reading Room Stacks. This section is divided into domestic and international subsections.

    [Current Issues: Periodicals Reading Room - Newspaper Case] The most recent issues are shelved in the newspaper case at the end of the Periodicals Reading Room. Older issues are shelved alphabetically by title in the newspaper section at the end of the Periodicals Reading Room Stacks. This section is divided into domestic and international subsections.

  3. Bound issues of Periodicals
    Bound issues of periodicals, generally older than 1-2 years, are located in the Widener stacks or at the Harvard Depository. See How to Find Books further up this page for assistance in locating these materials.

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Call Number Locations Chart & Collections Maps

Use the Widener Call Number Locations Chart to determine where particular call numbers are shelved. You can also use the Collections Maps below to locate exactly where on a given floor each separate classification lives. These maps also show the locations of faculty studies and study carrels. For convenience, the Call Number Locations Chart and Collections Maps have been made available in PDF format for easy printing.

Collections Maps

Note that Widener uses two separate call number or classification systems to shelve books:

  • Old Widener System (OW): This is the older classification system. Call numbers begin with letters or numbers.
  • Library of Congress System: These call numbers always begin with the WID-LC prefix followed by a letter.

When you are looking for a book in the stacks, it is important to be aware that the call numbers progress differently within each classification. Call numbers in the Old Widener System contain only whole numbers, while the Library of Congress classes contain decimal numbers. For additional information on locating materials in Widener, please see How to Find Books.

 

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Stacks Diagram

Diagram of the stacks in Widener Library

Layout of the Stacks

Level 1 of the Widener stacks is even with the first floor of the building. Above level 1 rise levels 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. Below level 1 are levels A, B, C, and D. The Widener stacks are laid out in two sectors, East and West. See Organization of Widener Collections for a visual overview of collection locations in the stacks.

Some Widener materials are located in Pusey Library, which is an underground facility located to the east of Widener. A tunnel leads from the Widener stacks level D-East (in the same corridor as the elevator) into level P2 of Pusey.


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