Boolean operators

Boolean operators are used to connect and define the relationship between your search terms in eHRAF. You will find radio buttons for the operators AND, OR, and NOT separating the different sections or clauses in the search form. Always double-check the radio buttons before searching. Selecting the incorrect operator for your search can severely limit or expand your results. Choosing AND will narrow your search because it requires that all of the terms entered are present at the same time in the search results, while OR will expand the results to include matches for any one clause or keyword at a time.


Browse is exploratory. It is a way of navigating and selecting terms from lists. In eHRAF there are three ways to browse: for cultures, subjects, and/or documents.

Culture (Ethnographic)

Each unit (collection) in eHRAF World Cultures usually represents a culture, by which is commonly meant the learned behaviors, ideas, beliefs, attitudes, and values typically shared by a society. A society usually refers to group of people who speak a language not usually understood by neighbors who occupy some contiguous (or at least some core) territory. Our list of culture units comes largely from the Outline of World Cultures (Murdock 1983) which we update where needed. However, note that some eHRAF World Cultures collections consist of more than one cultural unit. Sometimes this is because the ethnographic literature describes people speaking different languages within a usually small territory and therefore we have no choice but to consider them together. And sometimes peoples speaking the same language are so widespread (such as Arab speakers) that ethnographers describe different geographical regions as having different cultures. HRAF takes the position that all cultures will have subcultural differences and change over time; therefore, we try to include information about different communities or regions at different time periods. We recommend that when researchers collect information they focus on a community or region at a particular point in time.

Culture name

The name given to a people or ethnic group. More than one culture name may be used to refer to the same population. In eHRAF, you can find culture names on Culture Summary pages or in Browse Cultures.


An acronym for the electronic versions of the HRAF collections (eHRAF World Cultures and eHRAF Archaeology).


A largely descriptive work about a society’s customary behaviors, beliefs, attitudes and values. Usually based on extensive fieldwork including participant-observation.

Indexing Notes

Indexing notes describe decisions made by HRAF indexers about subject indexing in the eHRAF collections.


Outline of Archaeological Traditions


Outline of Cultural Materials


Outline of World Cultures

A permalink is a permanent static hyperlink or unchanging URL that points to a specific web page or resource. In eHRAF, every indexed document is assigned a permalink. Document permalinks can be shared or bookmarked and will direct you to the document’s Publication Information page within the eHRAF interface.


Sampling is a social research method referring to the process of selecting units of interest (such as societies, cultures or archaeological traditions) to form a representative subset for the purpose of generalizing results.

Search Query (Show/Hide)

This option can be found on the Region and Culture Results page in eHRAF. Clicking the Show/Hide button will toggle the raw search information as interpreted by eHRAF based on your keywords and/or subject and culture selections in either Basic or Advanced Search. You will most likely see a string of culture names, 3-digit OCM identifiers and text input separated by boolean characters. This information may be relevant to advanced users or those who would like to log a record of the OWC, OCM and keyword terms used in their search. It can also be used by our IT support team to troubleshoot any problems with your search.


A controlled vocabulary ordered so that relationships among terms are clear. With a thesaurus, users search for paragraphs that have been indexed for concepts (e.g., “Family Relationships”) rather than searching for words in the text.

Tradition (Archaeological)

a group of populations sharing similar subsistence practices, technology, and forms of socio-political organization, which are spatially contiguous over a relatively large area and which endure temporally for a relatively long period. Our list of archaeological traditions comes mainly from the Outline of Archaeological Traditions compiled by Peter Peregrine with the advice of a Board of Advisors. Note that in order to fit these criteria and precedent in the literature, eHRAF Archaeology collections sometimes will include a number of what otherwise may be considered separate traditions, not to mention multiple regional and temporal subtraditions and phases that some scholars might consider separate traditions or cultures.