History, Mission, & Vision


Harvard Library Bulletin was established in 1947 to provide its readership with information about the collections and professional activities in Harvard Library. It was published quarterly until 1960, when it ceased at the direction of Harvard University administration. HLB was revived in 1967 thanks to a bequest from the estate of Harvard alumnus George L. Lincoln (’95) and a fund established in memory of the first Librarian of Houghton, William A. Jackson, who passed away in 1964.

Publication continued until 1988, when the journal undertook a much briefer hiatus. In 1990, HLB began its “New Series,” whose format diverged significantly from that of the first incarnation, which had gone unchanged for 40 years. (In 2005, it returned to the original format.)

In 2018, HLB began another two-year hiatus to undergo the most radical changes in its history. Houghton Library was charged with the task of converting the journal from print and subscription-based to online and open access. A new editorial team, based in Houghton’s Scholarly and Public Programs, capitalized on the hiatus as an opportunity to re-think not only HLB’s format but the diverse content a digital publication could accommodate. Other opportunities: to begin building relationships across Harvard Library and with other units in the University; to contribute to Harvard’s Open Access initiatives; and to capture and make visible the many ways Harvard Library staff fulfill Harvard’s mission to create and share knowledge.

Mission and Vision

Harvard Library Bulletin is an online and open access multimodal publication that showcases scholarly research on primary sources and special collections holdings across all libraries and archives at Harvard. In addition, HLB publishes collections-focused content by researchers, students, and Library staff members.

Building on its history as a vital academic resource on Harvard Library collections, HLB will integrate traditional text-image articles with research that includes audio and video, virtual and augmented reality, and interactive elements. This blend of scholarly rigor, diverse content, and technological innovation will ensure that HLB remains an authoritative source of information on Harvard Library and its holdings while extending the boundaries of scholarly publishing.

Our Mission and Vision are guided by Harvard Library’s Values and Houghton Library’s Vision, Mission, and Values.