Board Meeting 2018: New Directions

Among the many highlights of the meeting, Matt Roth in IT offered a demonstration of new HRAF functions for saving searches and notes that the IT team (including Doug Black, Leon Doyon, and Fran Barone) has been hard at work on for the past year. These new features will be in beta testing by Fall 2018.

From April 18th-April 20th 2018, HRAF sponsoring member representatives flew into New Haven from institutions across the world, coming together for the 69th Annual HRAF Board Meeting during a chilly New England spring.

HRAF President Carol Ember and Vice President Mike Fischer (University of Kent, UK) presented on a successful past year of research, member development, and teaching initiatives, while highlighting the exciting new developments the IT team has been working on for the past year.

President Ember went on to report on strides made across the board—from new accessibility functions which can be used across our entire website, to developments in our teaching platform (including editable PowerPoint slides for in-class use), to a new membership category for 3 and 5 year prepaid associate memberships planned in tandem with the board. Learn more about that here

Table settings at the New Haven Lawn Club, where the 2018 HRAF Board Dinner was held.

Table settings at the New Haven Lawn Club, where the 2018 HRAF Board Dinner was held.


At the conclusion of the Board Meeting on April 20, the board unanimously passed a motion to recognize the outstanding service of Bertram Frankenberger Jr., who has faithfully served HRAF in many functions (most recently as treasurer) through more than five decades of technological, institutional, and philosophical changes. Thank you, Bertram—from all of us, and from institutions across the globe!

The Board also took a moment to surprise HRAF staff by formally recognizing the exceptional efforts of staff during the past year. Throughout 2017-2018, the HRAF team has realized a host of new projects that had been long-time dreams for the institute—from launching an interactive teaching platform, to pioneering new institutional collaborations, to redesigning how research and searches can be conducted. All of these efforts will pave the way for HRAF’s future as a world-renowned research institute focused on providing ethnographic and archaeological information, teaching resources, and research.

Carol Ember holds a glass aloft while saluting the hard work of board members, who clap in background.

President Ember’s gracious toast to the board and the entire HRAF team.

In addition, the board  agreed upon an exciting plan for one-year member scholarships for underrepresented membership regions. These scholarships will support HRAF use in regions that have had historically low use of HRAF resources, even though many of these regions are well represented within our collections.

We are looking towards a limited launch of new features at some point in the Fall Semester, and the traditional eHRAF system will remain fully accessible during that time. More to come on that soon!

Light streaming in from window while board members mingle for drinks at the New Haven Lawn Club banquet.

Light streaming in from window while board members mingle for drinks at the New Haven Lawn Club banquet.

Finally, the closing banquet dinner went splendidly. Board members and the resident HRAF team were able to catch up on exciting cultural research initiatives happening at board member’s institutions across the globe. President Ember offered a heartfelt toast to the attendees, who enjoyed delicious dinners, drinks, and conversation over a calm Connecticut evening.

Special thanks to those in attendance including Dr. Moira Marsh (Indiana Univ), Lynn Schmelz (Harvard Univ) Prof. Glen Storey (Univ of Iowa), Marie Paiva (Univ of Utah), Dr. Bobbie Low (Univ of Michigan), Dr. Peter Peregrine (Lawrence Univ), Prof. Mike Fischer (Univ of Kent), Prof. J. Terrence McCabe (Univ of Colorado), Dr. Brian Hanks (Univ. of Pittsburgh), Dr. Daniel Reboussin (Univ of Florida), Dr. Susan Tschabrun (California State Univ at Fullerton), Prof. Claire Bowern (Yale Univ), Dr. Lauren Ristvet (Univ of Pennsylvania),  Russell Gray (Max Planck Institute), and Dr. Hugh Page (Notre Dame Univ).