Announcing the new eHRAF World Cultures database (August 2022)

Beta Banner with New Sticker

The Human Relations Area Files is pleased to announce that the latest version of our eHRAF World Cultures database officially launched on August 15, 2022.

What’s new?

The new eHRAF World Cultures application offers a fresh look and feel that combines the best aspects of our classic eHRAF interface with a host of added features and enhancements. For example, search filters have been expanded with new options, and users can customize how they would like their search results to be displayed on the page. The Search Insights panel offers additional options for visualizing and drilling down through results sets. An exciting new development for researchers is the eHRAF Notebook, which allows paragraph search results to be saved, organized, annotated, and shared. In addition to the sleek new appearance, users will benefit from many performance upgrades enabling faster searching and more relevant paragraph results.

Beta screenshot search results

Screenshot showing search results and Search Insights (word cloud)

The new database contains all the culture and documents from the previous version, and will receive all future culture updates as we add them annually. The ability to browse eHRAF by Cultures, Documents, and Subjects, as well as to custom search using our indexing systems (the Outline of World Cultures for societies and Outline of Culture Materials for subjects) remain at the heart of eHRAF. HRAF Culture Summaries are also available for all 360+ cultures in eHRAF. We hope that you will enjoy discovering the new features that have been integrated throughout the database.

What do I do next?

You may have already explored the new eHRAF World Cultures experience during the beta development stage. That stage is now complete. Beginning August 15, 2022, all users entering eHRAF World Cultures will see the new appearance. The switch will be automatic for those authenticated through a member institution’s library portal.

Both the temporary beta URL for eHRAF World Cultures and the URL for the retired application will automatically redirect to the new interface, so the transition should be seamless for any browser bookmarks or library guides. Learn more about the new, old, and legacy URLs in our FAQ.

At this time, there are no additional settings that librarians are required to modify in order for users to access the new database appearance. If anything changes in this regard, we will be in touch as soon as possible with an update. Sign up for our newsletter, or make sure we have updated library contact information on file by emailing

If you currently access eHRAF using a HRAF-issued username and password, please contact if you experience any issues logging in to the new interface.

More frequently asked questions about the new application can be found on our FAQ page.

Will all users have notebooks?

Adding paragraph to notebook

Adding a paragraph result to a notebook

To enable Notebooks, users will be prompted to sign up for a Notebook account. At this time, Notebooks are not accessed through institutional credentials. Users must create a new account inside the eHRAF interface. Learn more about Notebooks here.

Legacy Version

Users will have the option to toggle back to the legacy version of eHRAF World Cultures. We expect to support the legacy version for the next full academic year in order to give faculty and librarians time to update any eHRAF-related teaching guides and resources.

Feedback Welcome

Beta 2022 survey banner

Location of the survey

If you have not yet had a chance to explore the new eHRAF World Cultures experience, we invite you to do so today. Your feedback throughout this process is most welcome. We would be very grateful if you would consider taking our user feedback survey after you have explored the new interface. A link to the survey can be found on the landing page of the new database.