Human Relations Area Files (HRAF)
Location: Microfiche Cabinet 59, Drawers 8-10
Scope: The Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) is a
microfiche collection of mostly primary source materials on cultures or
societies representing all major areas of the world. HRAF was founded and
continues to exist with one primary mission in mind -- to encourage and
facilitate the cross-cultural study of human culture, society and behavior.
The materials include many rare sources as well as English translations of
HRAF is very useful for cultural comparisons.
Examples: adoption practices, kinship
terminologies, hunting and trapping procedures.
HRAF is also very useful for studying specific or all aspects of a
Examples: Copper Eskimo, Iroquois, Tlingit.
An electronic version of the Human Relations Area Files is available at
eHRAF and is produced by the Human Relations Area Files, Inc. (HRAF)
at Yale University. The mission of HRAF, a non-profit consortium of universities
and colleges, is to encourage and facilitate worldwide and other comparative
studies of human behavior, society, and culture. An online
user's guide is available
for searching this electronic version. With 360 Cultures and over 1 million
pages of indexed ethnographic info (and several decades worth of work), the
microfiche is still much bigger than the eHRAF which was started in 1997 and now
has 137 cultures and over 350,000 indexed pages. There are many components that
are not in the microfiche; for example, no works after 1993, no U.S. immigrant
cultures, and no cultural summaries (from the Encyclopedia of World Cultures).
eHRAF is a mixture of old and
new, 60 % being from material from the microfiche. When a new culture is added
to eHRAF, only
relevant information from the microfiche is used and more recent information is
added. It is best to first use
eHRAF and browse the cultures
that are listed and if a particular culture or society is not found, search the
How to search the microfiche collection:
HRAF is organized by two main resources:
Outline of World Cultures (OWC) Location:
Microfiche Cabinet 59, Drawer 8-10, HRAF OWC
Outline of Cultural Materials (OCM)
Location: Microfiche Cabinet 59, Drawer 8-10, HRAF OCM
(1) Outline of World Cultures:
The HRAF collection is organized into separate Cultural Files. Each
cultural file contains
descriptive information on one culture or on closely related groups of
cultural files are listed in the manual Outline of World Cultures (OWC).
The OWC is an
inventory and classification of the known cultures of the world and is
Each distinct culture or group is designated by a name and unique
letter/number code called the OWC code. The first letter of the
code corresponds to one of the eight major
geographical regions of the world:
N=North America R=Russia/Soviet Union
M=Middle East O=Oceana
The second letter of the code represents a regional subdivision (political or
geographical-cultural). The number of the code is a group identifier.
9=Group identifier (Iroquois)
A comprehensive alphabetical index at the back of the
OWC provides access to a specific culture when its geographical region
is not known.
Note: The OWC lists all known cultures of the world (past and
present) and therefore is much more extensive than HRAF (i.e. not all cultures
OWC are in HRAF). Click here for a list of the
files available at Truman.
(2) Outline of Cultural Materials (OCM):
OCM is HRAF's subject classification system which reflects all aspects
of man's behavior, social life, customs, material products, and ecological
settings. The OCM consists of distinct subject categories.
Each category is briefly defined. Coverage of each category is discussed
along with cross references to other related categories.
Each category is designated by a unique code. The code consists of a
3-digit number: the first two digits represent the general subject
category. Each of these categories is further subdivided into more
specific, related terms, indicated by the third digit.
|60 KINSHIP -- general statements dealing with several specific
aspects of the general characteristics and component terminology of kinship
systems and with the specific patterns of behavior prevailing between kinsmen
who do not belong to the same nuclear or polygamous family. For kin
relationships within these types of family structure see Category 503.
|603 GRANDPARENTS AND CHILDREN
-- patterns of behavior between grandparents and grandchildren; respective
rights, privileges, and powers of the relatives involved; relationships between
great uncles and aunts, grand nephews, and nieces and further living lineal
ancestors and descendants; etc. See also; Activities and the status of the
A comprehensive subject index at the back of the OCM
helps to access
specific cultural traits.
Nature and Use of the HRAF files. (Microfiche Cabinet 59, Drawer 8-10
HRAF Source Bibliography. (Micro Ref GN 25 H73 1976)
Contains full bibliographic information for all books,
articles, and manuscripts cited
throughout the HRAF files. Entries are arranged in alpha-numeric
sequence by OWC code.
Each entry indicates year of inclusion in the HRAF files. Sources that
were not included
in their entirety are annotated with an (I). An (M) indicates that the
source is included in
the HRAF microfiles. The bibliography is indexed alphabetically by
author, by area, and
by cultural unit. The complete, full text of the publications
annotated with an (M) are
included as OCM category 116 and are available in the appropriate file.
Index to the Human Relations Area Files. (MicroRef GN 25 I54)
A subject index to the HRAF collection, organized by OCM
category code. The index
is most useful for determining the coverage of a subject in a file
without going directly
to the files themselves.
Yale University eHRAF User Guide available at
For more information about this subject in our Library Catalog, check out these
Prehistory-12th century 13-14th Century 15th
Century 16th Century 17th Century 18th Century
19th Century 20th century
Subject keywords: Anthropology
Alphabetical List of Microform Collections