A Cross-cultural Study for Good Luck – Bad Luck

In eHRAF World Cultures you can search for “good luck” and “bad luck” using the Advanced Search with its “Add Subjects” feature and keywords.  In “Add Subjects” you can pick OCM subjects such as “Luck and Chance” to find ethnographic documents with texts on the concepts of good and bad luck; ideas about chance and probability; things associated with good or bad luck (e.g., lucky objects, luck-bringing formulas, lucky and unlucky numbers, propitious and unlucky days); techniques for controlling luck (e.g., wearing of luck amulets, reciting of lucky formulas); conception of fate; etc.  Using the “Add Cultures” tab you can pre-pick cultures, ethnic groups, and regions, but if left blank, you’ll automatically do a cross-cultural search.

This image shows how an Advanced Search for good luck amulets and charms in eHRAF’s cross-cultural database looks like.

Advanced Search for good luck amulets and charms in eHRAF's cross-cultural database

Advanced Search for good luck amulets and charms in eHRAF’s cross-cultural database













Steps in building a search query in an eHRAF Advanced Search

Step 1. Click Add Subjects –use A-Z index, Major Subjects, or OCM Code tabs to find “matching” subjects for your topic, e.g. luck and chance:

>A-Z Index > type the word “luck” in index box to find the corresponding OCM subject
>Major Subjects> Religion > Religious Beliefs > Luck and Chance (OCM 777)
>OCM Code>700 range under Religious Beliefs> Luck and Chance (OCM 777)

Step 2. Optional! Add Keywords
In addition to using the OCM subjects you can also use keywords such as good or bad to refine your search.

If you use additional keywords for specific objects related to good or bad luck click the + in the lower right hand corner to open up a new keyword box.  Truncate the keywords amulet* charm* (for charm, charms, amulet, amulets, etc.) to increase the search results.

Step 3. Boolean AND and OR-Very, very important to set them right!

AND to narrow search
OR to expand search
(see red  and green circles in image above)

Step 4. Click “Search” to launch your cross-cultural search

Try your own eHRAF Advanced Search in eHRAF World Cultures. Contact hraf@yale.edu for a current login.

More Search Methods Posts:

Related eHRAF User Guide Links