About Searching eHRAF

How you search eHRAF will depend on the type of data that you hope to find as well as the keywords, culture names and/or subject categories that you wish to apply to your search. Every page of full-text ethnographic data in eHRAF has been indexed to the paragraph level by HRAF anthropologists. For this reason, whether you search with a just a few keywords, or customize a more sophisticated Advanced Search with specific culture names and subjects, your search results will consist of paragraphs of text that best match your query.

In the previous version of eHRAF, users could perform a Basic Search or an Advanced Search. In this new version, what was known as the Basic Search is simply called a Search. These searches attempt to match any terms that you enter against the traditions and subject thesauri used by eHRAF in order to automatically display the most relevant results. The work of finding and matching terms is done “behind the scenes”. You can perform a regular search with the search bar at the top of the landing page and if you click the search search button on the top navigation bar.

An Advanced Search provides you with many additional features to construct a more complex search. You can by choose specific traditions, regions or OCM subject categories from the thesaurus as well as adding keywords of your choice.

Expert users can go even further in-depth by coding their own searches. See the Search Syntax page for more guidance.

Being able to find and collect specific ethnographic information across hundreds of traditions at once is what makes eHRAF indispensible for comparative cultural research. In the search and retrieval process, individual paragraphs of ethnographic source material are given an equal weighting, irrespective of author or document title. It is this unique search system that allows eHRAF to be used for both broad and narrow topics, across many traditions, a few, or even just one.

This section of the user guide will walk you through searching and finding information in eHRAF.