A NEW INTERFACE FOR THE eHRAF COLLECTIONSCarol R. Ember,
Executive Director of the Human Relations Area Files
In the 2007 fall term we will have beta-test versions of the eHRAF collections on the web. With the new interface, we introduce new names for the collections—eHRAF World Cultures (the present name is eHRAF Collection of Ethnography) and eHRAF Archaeology (the present name is eHRAF Collection of Archaeology). If your institution is already a member of either or both collections you should be able to get in by IP address as soon as you put in the beta-test URLs (eHRAFWorldCultures.yale.edu and eHRAFArchaeology.yale.edu). If your institution is not currently a member of either or both collections we welcome any SCCR member who wishes to beta-test the new interface in the fall term. Please contact us at email@example.com or 800-520-HRAF and we will give you passwords to get in to either or both collections. The current interface will continue to be served by the University of Michigan through the end of January, 2008.
eHRAF World Cultures contains over 165 cultures with over 450,000 pages of information on all aspects of cultural and social life. Each culture file contains a variety of source documents (books, articles, and dissertations) that have been indexed and organized according to HRAF's comprehensive culture and subject classification systems: the Outline of World Cultures (OWC), and the Outline of Cultural Materials (OCM). These comprehensive culture and subject retrieval systems extend searching beyond keyword searching. eHRAF Archaeology contains 55 traditions with approximately 80,000 pages of archaeological information.
For those of you familiar with the present interface, some of the new features are:
- An entirely new search (called the “Lookup Search”) which maps words you enter to our two thesauri. So, for example, if you put in “African art” the new search will suggest looking at all the cultures we currently have in Africa plus all the subject categories dealing with art. You can modify the search to add or delete subjects and cultures. We hope that this search will familiarize users with our subject-indexing system which is often much more powerful for searching than word searches alone.
- A more advanced search will allow complex Boolean searches of subjects, cultures and words in text. Where the present interface only allows three choices of subject and three words, the new interface will allow as many entries and clauses as you wish.
Other new features include:
- Complete citations that automatically accompany search results
- Emphasis on subject descriptions rather than subject category numbers (e.g., “Techniques of Socialization  not “861”)
- Ability to choose to see a whole searched paragraph, a paragraph in the context of a page, or the next or previous page
- New subject thesaurus based on 18 major-subjects (may be viewed at http://www.yale.edu/hraf/Ocm_xml/newOcm.xml)
- Chunking of results to avoid timing-out problems
- Email and print functions