Good news, anthropologists! Now there is an easier way to do a comparative study of different cultures from around the world.  Just try our recent addition to our growing database collection, eHRAF.

eHRAF stands for the electronic edition of Human Relations Area Files, a non-profit institution founded in 1949 by Yale University. HRAF is a consortium of academic, cultural institutions, and government agencies who share the same mission of encouraging and facilitating comparative studies of human cultures, societies, and behavior. This mission is accomplished mainly through the compilation, indexing, and distribution of a collection of ethnographic and other texts that are indexed by culture and subject.

For example, if you are interested in practices of “arranged marriages” in East Asian countries, Korea, Japan, and China, and want to do a comparative study on that topic. All you need to do is  go to the Advanced Search page of eHRAF, select corresponding cultures in geographical regions (for example, Korea, Miao, and Okinawan) under the tab of addCultures, then under addSubjects, drill down to “arranging a marriage,” and click Search. Instantly, you get 35 documents about arranged marriages in the three different cultures.
If you need to learn more about this database, or any other resources in anthropology, be sure to consult the library research guide for Anthropology, and/or contact the liaison librarian for Anthropology, Mr. Yunshan Ye.

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