Electronic HRAF

Wed, 16 Mar 1994 16:10:00 EST


Here is the long-awaited announcement about the new electronic HRAF. This
letter and announcement was sent to all HRAF members. I will be happy to try to
answer any and all questions.

Marlene Martin, Bibliographer and Librarian
755 Prospect St.
New Haven, CT 06511
Voice: 203-777-2334
FAX: 203-777-2337


The ELECTRONIC HRAF is a full-text database that provides primarily
descriptive information on the cultures of the world. The first
installment will be issued on CD-ROM in December, 1994 and
subsequent installments will be issued on an annual basis. These
installments will begin to replace and update the information
currently available in the microfiche version of the HRAF database
and will eventually replace it entirely.

Annual Installments

Annual installments will contain 50,000 or more pages of text on
fifteen or more cultures. In addition to the text, indexed by the
Outline of Cultural Materials, the ELECTRONIC HRAF will also
contain bibliography for each culture and a cultural summary.

Installment 43, to be issued in December 1994, will cover the
following cultures:

Cajuns (North America)
Chinese Canadians (North America)
Chinese Americans (North America)
Tzeltal (North America)
Andamans (Asia)
Taiwan Hokkien (Asia)
Iban (Asia)
Trobriands (Oceania)
Tikopia (Oceania)
Highland Scots (Europe)
Mbuti (Africa)
Shluh (Africa)
Lozi (Africa)
Aymara (South America)
Yanoama (South America)

Subsequent installments will follow this same approach of covering
both North American ethnic groups and a sample of cultures from
around the world.

Membership Dues

$5000. per annual installment

$3250. per annual installment for active member institutions

$4000. per annual installment for inactive and Cross-Cultural CD
member institutions

Local Network Fees: To be determined. Will be waived for all active

System Requirements

IBM PC and Compatibles:
386 chip and above
4 Meg RAM
VGA Monitor
MicroSoft Windows 3.x

Hard Drive:
At least 2 megabytes of free space

CD-ROM Drive
ISO 9660 compatible

Search and Retrieval Software

DynaText System will be licensed from Electronic Book Technologies,
Inc. and adapted for the ELECTRONIC HRAF. It will be supplied with
the CD-ROM at no additional cost along with supporting

Navigation and Searching

The ELECTRONIC HRAF combines the traditional features of searching
by query with features of full-context hypertext browsing in a
model called the electronic book. Users can still search the
database in the traditional manner, relying on the controlled
vocabularies of the Outline of Cultural Materials and Outline of
World Cultures and on time and place coverage. At the same time,
the context and structure of the documents is also brought to bear
in information searching. Typical elements such as author names,
titles, chapter titles, and footnotes are fields for searching and
stepping stones to navigation through the database. In addition to
Boolean and proximity searching, navigation can be accomplished
through expanding and collapsing Tables of Contents, by choosing
portions of the text to retrieve, by hyperlinking between different
sections of the text such as references and footnotes, by entering
bookmarks and notes, and even by recording and playing-back
navigation routes and search techniques.

User Support

Technical and user support will be provided by HRAF. The database
will contain on-screen help and will be supported by a hardcopy

For Further Information:

HRAF Member Services TEL: (203) 777-2334
P.O. Box 2054 Y.S. FAX: (203) 777-2337

March 10, 1994

Dear HRAF Member Institution:

As I told you I would when I wrote last summer about the ELECTRONIC
HRAF, I am getting back to you with more information about the
database. First, I want to thank all of you who responded to the
earlier prospectus. Your comments have helped us think more clearly
about such central issues as price, information retrieval, and
database format.

Our goals in developing the ELECTRONIC HRAF have been three-fold.
First, to design a database that builds on the strengths of the
microfiche and paper versions of the database, especially the use
of controlled vocabulary to search both by culture and subject.
Second, to build a more user-friendly database by allowing access
and information retrieval in different ways and by adding new
information. And, third by doing this in a way that keeps the cost
low for member institutions. As regards price, you will see that
the dues are now lower than we projected last summer and that they
have been increased by only 32 percent for active member
institutions (those that have the entire database--installments 1-
42--in paper or microfiche) even though you will be receiving twice
as much information in each installment, retrieval software, and a
far more user-friendly database.

A number of you have inquired about networks, both local and state
or regional. We have explored the possibility of delivering access
to the database through an on-line service but, at this point, most
are not yet ready to handle a database of this size and internal
complexity. We do allow for the possibility of your placing the
database on your LAN.

A few of you also asked about the availability of future
installments on either CD-ROM or microfiche. We have explored this
possibility and found that the cost is prohibitive; in essence we
need to produce two different databases with a reduced audience for
each. Since nearly all members have indicated a preference for an
electronic database to replace the microfiche, we have chosen that

The enclosure describes the ELECTRONIC HRAF as now planned for
delivery in December. Again, I would appreciate any suggestions
from you.


Melvin Ember


HRAF as an organization is involved in the preparation and
publication of a number of reference resources. There is some
confusion about what these are and how they relate to each other
and the ELECTRONIC HRAF. Hopefully the following will help sort
this out.

CROSS-CULTURAL CD--A text database on CD-ROM consisting of ten
smaller databases. Each smaller database is composed of text from
the HRAF database on a specific topic for a sample of sixty
cultures. Eight of these--Sexual Behavior, Marriage, Family, Crime
and Social Problems, Old Age, Death and Dying,
Childhood/Adolescence, and Socialization/Education are now
available. Religious Beliefs and Religious Practices will be
available in July, 1994. The database is published for HRAF by
SilverPlatter Information, Inc.

database on CD-ROM containing citations to books, articles,
documents, etc. on Native Americans, indexed by subject, author,
and ethnic group. The database contains about 60,000 citations and
is updated annually. It is published for HRAF by ABC-CLIO.

ENCYCLOPEDIA OF WORLD CULTURES--A ten-volume reference work
containing descriptive summaries of about 1500 cultural groups
around the world. Each volume covers of region or regions. The
first six volumes--North America, Oceania, South Asia, Europe, East
and Southeast Asia, and Russia and Eurasia and China are in print.
Volume & covering South America will appear latter this year and
the final three (Middle America and the Caribbean, Africa and the
Middle East and Compilation and Indexes) in 1995. This work is
published for HRAF by G.K. Hall/Macmillan.

frameworks, theories, concepts, methods, regional foci,
controversies, and organizations in cultural and social
anthropology and related topics in other fields. This work is being
produced for HRAF by the American Reference Publishing Co. and will
be published in 1995 by Henry Holt, Inc.