Users' manual
Instructions on how to use AnthroBase. - Click here to print, cite or link to this page.



For users

For authors


Publishing on AnthroBase

Finding information

Linking to AnthroBase

About AnthroBase

Advice for teachers


Printing from AnthroBase

Language editors

Ordering hard copies

Open source and copyright

Online dictionary of anthropology

Editorial policy

Citing texts on AnthroBase

Contact us

Contact authors


AnthroBase is an online database of texts, which is:

Click here to read a more comprehensive overview of AnthroBase.

AnthroBase also contains an:

The dictionary is accessible from the Browse bar to the left on your screen.
Click here to read more about the dictionary.

Finding information

Information in AnthroBase may be located in two ways, by browsing our indexes and by searching.

Browsing indexes
Texts on AnthroBase are indexed by theme, citation, region, title, author and collection. Each index category is located on a category page, which contains links to all relevant AnthroBase texts, and to which you may link directly (click here for details). While browsing texts, you can always access each of these indexes from the Browse bar on the left side of the screen.

The thematic index is an alphabetical list of thematic keywords. Keywords range from the very abstract and general (e.g. "political anthropology" or "the body") to the very specific (e.g. "habitus", "new religious movements" or "clothing"). Each keyword links to a thematic category page with links to all texts on AnthroBase that contain a substantial discussion of the theme (some thematic category pages also have a link to relevant entries in the Dictionary of Anthropology). If an indexed text is long, it may be difficult to locate exactly where in the text the theme is discussed. We are working on a solution to this problem. In the mean time, consult the table of contents, try searching (Ctrl-F) for words related to the theme, or use the Google toolbar (click here for details).

The citation index is an alphabetical list of cited authors, where each author name links to a category page with links to all texts that contain a substantial discussion of that author. (Many citation category pages also have links to the entry in the Dictionary of Anthropology that deals with that author.) Locating the discussion of the author in a long text is fairly simple: Search (Ctrl-F) for the author's last name, or use the Goggle toolbar (click here for details). You should be aware that the "substantial discussion" to which the index refers may not be identical with the first reference to the author in the text. You may have to search several times before the interesting passage is found. Some texts may have no "substantial" citations at all, and will not be found in this index. Click here and here to see examples of citation category pages.

The regional index categorizes texts according to the region and country with which the texts are concerned. Purely theoretical or non-localized texts will not be found in this index. Click here and here to see examples of regional category pages.

The author and title indexes list all texts alphabetically according to their author(s) and title. Texts with multiple authors are indexed separately for each author.

Collection indexes refer you to specialized AnthroBase homepages dealing with texts (and sometimes other resources) that are related for various reasons. Thus, "Book pages" are centered around substantial exerpts from published volumes, which we have republished on AnthroBase (with the publisher's permission) and which may contain other resources as well (e.g. errata to the published volume, link pages); "conference pages" are collections of papers from the same conference; "journal pages" contain selected articles from a specific journal; etc. Click here to see examples of: A book page, a journal page, a conference page and a course paper page. Other collection types may with time be added.

Other indexes are being planned, including a "group-name" index, listing the ethnic, religious, professional etc. groups discussed in our texts.

A custom-made search utility for AnthroBase is being planned, and will contain a number of specific functions. As a temporary solution, we have installed Google's site search, which allows you to search the entire AnthroBase site. The Search function is accessible from the Browse bar on the left side of the screen.

Please note the following limitations of the Google site search:

The Google toolbar
Windows users will find it a lot easier to search AnthroBase and browse our indexes if they obtain the Google Toolbar (click here to download). This is a light-weight and completely indispensable tool, which allows you to write search terms into a search field in your browser's toolbar and click a button to have all occurrences of the search term in the document highlighted. Unfortunately, the Goggle Toolbar is not yet available to non-Windows and Internet Explorer users, but similar utilities have been or are under development for other platforms. Mac users may try the Search Bar utility (click here to download). The Yahoo Desktop Toolbar is another utility with similar functionalities (click here to download), which can also be integrated with the wonderful local computer and email search utility X1. All of these toolbars are free (X1 must be purchased, click here for information).

Linking to AnthroBase
(See also: "Advice for teachers")

AnthroBase has as its policy that the addresses of published texts and category pages will not change. You can therefore link to these pages from your homepage or bookmark them in your browser, without having to fear that the link will turn out to be dead after a month or a year.

There is a hitch, however: AnthroBase uses an HTML feature called "frames" in its browse system. This is practical for navigation purposes, but may be a problem in a number of other situations, since only the frame's address appears in your browser's address bar. If you want to bookmark or link to a text or category page in AnthroBase, you must therefore first remove the frame. This is done by clicking a link located near the top of the text (close to the copyright notice for texts).

All AnthroBase texts have such a link installed, but due to the changes going on with the database at present, there are a number of category pages and dictionary entries, which lack it. If you still want to link directly to the page, you can (in Windows) right click on the document you wish to bookmark or link to (not on the navigation frame to the left!). Choose "Properties", and mark and copy (Ctrl-C) the address of the page from the property menu that then appears.

Printing from AnthroBase

Texts on AnthroBase may be freely printed and distributed, as long as no changes are made to the text. (Commercial distribution is prohibited, without the written permission of the author. For information on how to contact authors, click here.)

As when you link to a page on AnthroBase, you want to remove the frame before you print. To remove the frame, click the link located near the top of the page (for texts, close to the copyright notice). See "Linking to AnthroBase" above for more details.

Click here to order fully formatted hard-copy editions of AnthroBase texts.

Online Dictionary of Anthropology

Work on this dictionary started in the mid-1990's, with a short word list composed by Finn Sivert Nielsen for a book on anthropological field methods. The dictionary went online in 2001, and has since been added to and expanded sporadically. In 2003, a major update and expansion was commenced, but there is still a lot left to do.

The dictionary consists of thematic entries, treating various terms, topics and schools in anthropology and related sciences, and personal entries, containing short biographies of well-known anthropologists and other authors with relevance for anthropology. Entries are hyperlinked to each other; words marked in red will be hyperlinked as soon as the new entries have been added.

As of March 2005, the dictionary contains 74 thematic entries and 137 personal entries. The quality of the entries varies from one-line descriptions to extensive discussions. Eventually, the format of all entries will be standardized. For an example of a (more or less) complete personal entry, click here. For an example of a (more or less) complete thematic entry, click here.

When the present update is finished, the dictionary will include information on approximately 200 anthropologists and representatives of related sciences (the names are derived from the index to a history of anthropology that I recently coauthored with Thomas Hylland Eriksen, and from the Citation index on AnthroBase). In addition, existing thematic entries will be edited and rearranged, and an (as yet unspecified) number of thematic entries will be added.

All entries have, as yet, been written by myself, but anyone may contribute to the dictionary (I retain the right to refuse contributions that seem inadequate). Click here to contact us if you are interested in contributing to the dictionary.

Citing texts on AnthroBase

Bibliographical format: When citing texts on AnthroBase, use standard citation procedures, adding the URL to the end of the reference, and the date on which the text was accessed. The Chicago Manual of Style suggests the following citation format for WWW references:

Jewett, Sarah Orne. 1997. The country of the pointed firs [online]. New York: Columbia University, Academic Information Systems, Bartleby Library, 1996 [cited 16 October 1997]. Available from World Wide Web: (

AnthroBase URL's are stable and will not change, so it might seem that the date would be unnecessary. However, texts on AnthroBase may be removed altogether or edited, and the date reference is therefore of importance. If you plan to quote a text that has later been removed from AnthroBase and you need exact bibliographical information, you may contact us.

Page numbers: A problem with citing texts on AnthroBase is that our documents are not paginated. We hope eventually to publish paginated PDF versions of our files in addition to the HTML versions presently available. In the mean time, you may circumvent this limitation in one of two ways:

  1. In the case of direct quotes, a reader wishing to reference your citation can simply search (Ctrl-F) the document for a selected phrase from the quote (normally, 4-5 words will be enough). If you use direct quotes from AnthroBase texts, we suggest that you inform your readers of this possibility in your bibliography.
  2. If you are not using direct quotations, you should refer to the relevant sub-section of the text in your bibliography.

Contact authors

Authors publishing on AnthroBase have the opportunity to establish an author page, with contact details, information on their work and links to all texts they have published on AnthroBase. So far no authors have made use of this option. Some authors have published their email addresses along with their texts - these may be found as links attached to the name of the author, right under the title of the text itself (due to imperfections in the database, please take the time to check all texts by the author in question, since the email address may not be included in every text). Please note that published email addresses may be outdated, if the author has not remembered to inform us of his or her new address.

If you cannot find an author's email address in this way, click here to contact us and state which author you wish to contact. We will forward your email to the author, who may then contact you.