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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Anthropology 271: Human Evolution

Guide to Library Research



Ethnographies are generally accounts of observations or interviews descriptive of specific cultural groups. They're generally published as books. They're not always easy to find in the library because there isn't a specific subject heading to separate them from books that rely on secondary sources.  Here are some ideas for locating them.

1) Book series. The links below will bring you to catalog records for two important series of book-length ethnographies.

Contemporary Ethnography about 15 books in this series.
Case Studies in Cultural Anthropology 137 books.

2) Subject keyword searches. There are a couple of subheadings that tend to be used for ethnographies. In the UMass catalog, do a Subject Keyword search. Enter a term identifying your culture, location, or nationality, and add one of these keywords or phrases:

social life and customs

3) EHraf World Cultures. This database is a highly indexed collection of ethnographic research. Use the Browse tab to choose a culture, then use the Collection Documents tab to view ethnographies a page at a time. Use the tutorials to discover other capabilities of EHraf, such as tracing a specific theme across cultures.

4) Encyclopedia of World Cultures 1998, and its 2002 supplement, also  at call number GN 307 E53 in the Reference collection, Du Bois main floor, have articles on most world cultures. Each article contains a bibliography of ethnographies and other works on that culture. If the citation is for a book or a chapter, look it up in the catalog by the title of the book; if an article, look it up by journal title.