eHRAF Collection of Ethnography

eHRAF Collection of Ethnography

eHraf is a massive cultural database Containing over 350,000 pages of descriptive information on cultures around the world from ethnographies. Subject-indexed at the paragraph level for precise retrieval of information on all aspects of cultural and social life from 108 cultures around the world.

Produced by the Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) at Yale University. Not all of the Area Files are in eHRAF, and it might be valuable to consult the Libraries' microfiche HRAF collection.



Browse Cultures

     Click the Browse tab.
  • The "Browse cultures" screen appears. This is an A-Z index of all the cultures or ethnic groups in eHRAF (108 cultures are currently in the list)

  • Click on the culture name for a brief description of the culture, a table of contents of all the documents about that culture in eHRAF, and a longer culture summary.

  • Click on Browse Cultures by Region to switch to an index of cultures/ethnic groups arranged in the following geographic regions: Africa; Asia; Europe; Middle America and the Caribbean; Middle East; North America; Oceania; South America. You may then choose a culture from the list.

  • Browse Subjects

    • Click on Browse Subjects to see an A-Z index of the subject terms used in eHRAF. These terms are called OCMs, short for "Outline of Cultural Materials."
    • Note that the same word in the index may be linked to several different subjects: e.g. the word bone occurs in six different subjects:

      • Bone pointing, in sorcery, 754
      • Bone setting, 752
      • Bone, ideas about, 826
      • Bone, use, 237
      • Bone, work in, 321

    • Click on Browse Subject Categories to see an outline of all the subject categories used to index eHRAF. There are 91 broad subject categories. Each is subdivided into narrower subjects, e.g. 730 Social problems includes 731 Disasters; 732 Disabilities; 733 Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, etc.

    • Click on the numeric code for a description of that subject term and links to eHRAF texts that match that subject. E.g., 754 above refers to the subject "Sorcery." The description of this subject includes a link to a broader subject category, Sickness (750). It also has links to some related subjects, such as familiar spirits (776), and punishment of sorcery (683).

    • From the subject description, click on eHRAF Ethnography Documents with this OCM to see links to texts that mention this subject.


    Click the Search tab.

    Quick Search:

    Enter a word or phrase in the Quick Search box (top right hand of the screen) to search the full text of all the eHRAF documents.

    Text Search: Searches combinations of:

    Subject codes (OCMs)

    • Enter codes manually or

    • Click add to select codes from a list. This opens the A-Z Subject index in a separate window. Scroll through the index to find the term you need. Click on note for a description of that subject. Click add to add this subject to your search.

    • You may enter up to three different subject terms. The default operator combines the terms with AND. Use the drop down menus to change the Boolean operator to NOT or OR.

    Words in the full text or titles of eHRAF documents

    • Enter only one word or phrase in the "Exact word or phrase" boxes. You may enter up to three terms, combined with AND, OR, or NOT. Use the drop-down menus to enter the Boolean operators.

    • To search for words or phrases in Chapter Titles, enter them in the "Exact word or phrase" boxes. Click the box that says Paragraphs to change to "Chapter Titles." Do not enter any OCM subject terms above.

    Culture names

    • To limit your search to one or more cultures in eHRAF, select the culture from the A-Z list at the bottom. Use Ctrl-click to select more than one culture.

    Click Search to run your search.

    Search Tips

    • Boolean Operators ( and, or, not) focus/broaden your searches.

    • Truncation: use * to truncate. Example: child* retrieves child, child's, children, etc.

    Viewing Records

    Search results appear as a list of cultures that include matching terms. Results are sorted by geographic region (Africa, Asia, etc.), and then in A-Z order within each region. After each culture name, a note explains how many matches were found. Each "match" is a single paragraph. E.g., "25 matches in 3 documents" means that 25 paragraphs were found, and these paragraphs come from three different book-or article-length documents.

    • Click on the culture name to see a list of results for that culture.

    Marking Records

    It is not possible to mark records in eHRAF.

    Exporting (Printing, Saving, and Emailing)

    • Use the browser's Print command to print the current document view.
    • Use the browser's Save command to save these results. Change the format to text file. Click Save.
    • Use the browser's Send command to send the current page by email.
    • It is not possible to export entire documents from eHRAF; only one paragraph or section at a time.

    The electronic collection is not a complete representation of HRAF. The Microfiche collection available in the Rivera library contains an additional 200+ cultures, and many as yet undigitized materials.

    Last modified: 1/7/2008 4:01 PM by by M. Potter

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