Monthly Archives: February 2016

Human Relations Area Files, Inc. (HRAF)

About HRAF

    Human Relations Area Files, 755 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT

Human Relations Area Files, 755 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT

Human Relations Area Files, Inc. (HRAF) is an internationally recognized organization in the field of cultural anthropology. Founded in 1949 at Yale University, HRAF is a not-for-profit membership consortium of universities, colleges, and research institutions. Its mission is to encourage and facilitate the cross-cultural study of human culture, society and behavior in the past and present.

In the 1930s, behavioral scientists at Yale’s Institute of Human Relations started to develop a collection of cultural materials classified by subject at the paragraph-level enabling quick access to research materials. HRAF grew out of these efforts. Today, HRAF is committed to developing dynamic, fully-indexed electronic collections online. HRAF has two electronic collections: eHRAF World Cultures and eHRAF Archaeology.  Availability of HRAF collections is limited to members of the HRAF consortium. Learn more about HRAF’s history in our timeline.

HRAF also publishes encyclopedias in conjunction with major reference publishers. Although HRAF Press no longer publishes current titles, back copies are available. HRAF also distributes monographs on demand (see publications).

HRAF is a financially independent research agency of Yale University and is located on Prospect Street in New Haven, Connecticut.

Member Services:

755 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511-1225 Tel: 203-764-9401 or 1-800-520-4723 FAX: 203-764-9404 E-Mail:



eHRAF World Cultures


eHRAF World Cultures contains ethnographic collections covering all aspects of cultural and social life. eHRAF is unique in having subject indexing at the paragraph level. This allows detailed and precise searching for concepts not easily found with keywords.

The Features, Benefits & Uses section highlights eHRAF’s distinctive attributes such as the ability to search by cultures, subjects, regions, and even subsistence types. It also gives an overview of the type of studies and academic disciplines that can use eHRAF for research and teaching.

Cultures Covered lists the all the cultures, ethnic groups and indigenous people currently included in eHRAF. It also lists those cultures covered in the microfiche version of what was once called HRAF Collection of Ethnography.

The subjects that are used in indexing and searching the ethnographic texts in eHRAF are based on the Outline of Cultural Materials (OCM), a vast thesaurus of subject terms and descriptions.

Access to the online eHRAF World Cultures database requires membership (or temporary password).  Check our list of member institutions to see if your institution is already a member of HRAF. Members of HRAF can benefit from a variety of free support and services including online info sessions for librarians, teaching support for faculty, online student exercises, and even customized webinars for student classes.

A free 30-day trial for eHRAF World Cultures is available for interested individuals and a 60-day trial is available for institutions.

To subscribe to eHRAF, individuals or institutions (colleges, universities, public libraries, museums, high schools, etc.) must first become part of the HRAF consortium. Contact HRAF for more information at 1-800-520-HRAF (4723), 203-764-9401, or


eHRAF databases

eHRAF databases receive two Outstanding Academic Title awards from Choice Magazine


eHRAF World Cultures and eHRAF Archaeology: Outstanding Academic Titles and Top 10 Internet Resources

We are excited to announce that both of HRAF’s cross-cultural databases – eHRAF World Cultures and eHRAF Archaeology – have received Outstanding Academic Title awards from Choice Magazine and they were each voted one of the Top 10 Internet Resources in 2015.

Outstanding Academic Titles are selected from 7,000 overall reviewed titles. Only 606 of these titles, including books and electronic resources, receive OAT status.

We are very proud of this accomplishment as we are a small, non-profit organization and credit this success to the dedication of our hard-working team and support from our member institutions. Find out more about the HRAF family here.

You can read the full texts of our Choice Reviews here:

The best way to learn for yourself why eHRAF is award-winning and highly recommended by Choice is to have a look inside. Get started by reading about eHRAF on our homepage and don’t forget to check out our latest blog posts for interesting cross-cultural examples supported with ethnographic or archaeological snippets from the database(s). Ready to start searching? Check to see if your institution is a member, or contact Chris Cunnar (Member Services) at for free trial access.

About Choice Reviews

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, published by the Association of College and Research Libraries, is the premier source for reviews of academic books and digital resources of interest to scholars and students in higher education. Choice reviews are timely, authoritative, concise and easy to use, covering over 50 subdisciplines spanning the humanities, science and technology, and the social and behavioral sciences (source).