Skip to main content

eHRAF World Cultures: Introduction

About eHRAF World Cultures

eHRAF World Cultures is a systematically organized collection of thousands of books and articles on cultures from all regions of the world. The purpose of eHRAF is to facilitate analysis and comparison of specific topics between cultures. It may be used to find information on particular cultures, ethnic or immigrant groups, and information on beliefs, superstitions, or subjects, such as political structure, architecture, kinship units, or settlement patterns. It currently contains over one million pages of indexed information on more than 400 different cultural, ethnic, religious, and national groups around the world, and the full-text sources are subject-indexed at the paragraph level.

There are two ways to find documents in eHRAF:

  • search by keyword
  • browse by culture, subject, or text/document

The full-text documents (books, articles, and dissertations) are indexed and organized according to HRAF's comprehensive culture and subject classification systems: the Outline of World Cultures and the Outline of Cultural Materials 

Outline of World Cultures

The Outline of World Cultures identifies cultural groupings and simplifies the process of cross cultural research. Each distinct culture within HRAF has been assigned an alphanumeric OWC code. For example:

        Mexican Americans - use Chicanos, N007

        Scottish - use Highland Scots, ES10

Please note that not every culture listed in the OWC is represented by a file. The OWC is intended primarily as a means of classifying cultural entities rather than serving as a list of cultures listed in HRAF. Due to variations in spelling, proper names, and changes in terminology over time, it can be easy to miss relevant research related to specific cultures. The OWC cross-references all related cultures and assigns each related group the same identifier.

Outline of Cultural Materials

The Outline of Cultural Materials is a list of subjects used to index the texts contained in the HRAF collection. The OCM is comprised of approximately eighty broad terms and over seven hundred narrower terms or OCM sub-categories. Each subject within HRAF has been assigned a numeric OCM code, and each OCM contains a description of the subject and related subjects. For example:

        230 - Animal Husbandry

        610 - Kin Groups

        840 - Reproduction

                844 - Childbirth

                847 - Abortion and Infanticide

History, Anthropology, Political Science, & Music Librarian