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Harvard Film Archive Films Now Searchable Through HOLLIS


23,000 films and videotapes are now searchable through the library catalog thanks to a Library Lab project.


January 15, 2013—The majority of the Harvard Film Archive’s (HFA) records, representing more than 23,000 films and videotapes, are now searchable through HOLLIS. Previously, only 4,000 records were available through HOLLIS, about 15 percent of the HFA’s holdings, and the remaining records were searchable only by HFA staff using an HFA internal database.


“The HFA catalog is a treasure trove of materials for researchers,” said Christine Eslao, technical services librarian for Harvard Library's Information and Technical Services (ITS). “Their materials are now so much more accessible since they can be searched within the main library catalog.” Eslao was largely responsible for transforming the data to be exported to HOLLIS.


The project was initiated by Michelle Durocher, head of Metadata Management for ITS, and supported by the Harvard Library Lab. "The idea was to develop a generalizable methodology and workflow for creating HOLLIS catalog records in batch from disparate data sources, such as desktop databases or spreadsheets," Durocher said. 


The project took approximately one year, propelled by Elizabeth Coffey, film conservator for the HFA, and Linda Takata, cataloging manager in the Metadata Creation section of ITS. Coffey was responsible for preparing the data to be exported and identifying data so that Eslao could create a process to transform it into a form recognizable to HOLLIS. Corinna Baksik of Library Technology Services (LTS) exported the data into the catalog.


“The new records allow users to discover our holdings using basic movie title or director searches. We hope this will encourage researchers to consider using films from the HFA’s diverse collection in their work," Coffey noted. “The records are far from complete, but interested users can contact HFA staff for more information about a particular item.”


“Now that a process in in place, we hope to continue exporting data into HOLLIS periodically,” said Eslao. “The HFA will be able to keep their own internal catalog to track all the finer details necessary for HFA internal work.” Project staff hope eventually to upload all the Aleph records to WorldCat so that they will be searchable on Google as well.


See an example of a new collection at the HFA on HOLLIS here.