New Web resource to facilitate study of bond between humans and animals

November 3, 2011

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University Press and the School of Veterinary Medicine will develop a new online resource to further the study of the human-animal bond.

The site - HABRI Central - will serve as a comprehensive bibliography and repository of scholarly material, an online publishing platform for peer-reviewed content, and a virtual collaborative community for those involved in human-animal bond studies.

The project is the first to be funded by the nonprofit Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation, the founding sponsors of which are the American Pet Products Association, PETCO and Pfizer Animal Health. The collaborators will receive a grant of $831,535 for the project.

When it is launched in early 2012, HABRI Central will provide researchers, practitioners and other professionals with easy access to a comprehensive database of published and previously unpublished materials from a wide range of human-animal bond studies, including audiovisual material and datasets, as well as text.

Human-animal bond research is a relatively new area of study that explores the complex relationships between animals and humans. The field covers a diverse array of disciplines, including agriculture, anthropology, nursing, psychology, sociology, law, veterinary medicine and zoology. As the influence of the human-animal bond has expanded into multiple fields, growing numbers of researchers have begun to show interest. This recent growth has led to a strong need for a centralized collection of resources for human-animal bond studies.

Professor Alan Beck, director of the Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine's Center for the Human-Animal Bond, and Charles Watkinson, director of Purdue Press, will oversee the project. Communications professional Christopher Charles will manage it. An editorial board of internationally acclaimed experts in the field will ensure that content is relevant to the community of human-animal bond scholars.

Professor Rebecca Johnson of the University of Missouri chairs the management advisory board. Bibliographic oversight will be provided by professor Gretchen Stephens, and the underlying taxonomy that will allow powerful browse and search capabilities will be created by professor Jane Yatcilla, both Purdue Libraries faculty members.

HABRI Central will be built upon the HUBzero platform for scientific collaboration developed at Purdue. The platform, originally designed to support the Network for Computational Nanotechnology's, is used by more than 30 hubs in various fields.

"Evidence-based study of the human-animal bond is an interdisciplinary field of research conducted by a widely spread network of researchers. With its powerful and proven tools for building scholarly communities across national and disciplinary boundaries, HUBzero is the ideal partner to help us build HABRI Central," Watkinson said.

Steve Hellem, executive director of the HABRI Foundation, said, "While a great deal of research has been done to date on the positive physical, mental and emotional human health benefits derived from our relationships with pets and other animals, it is scattered and difficult to access. By supporting a new online research center, we will enable further studies into the power of the human-animal bond, including ways to help humans make informed decisions about their own health."

About Purdue University Press

A unit of Purdue Libraries, Purdue University Press is dedicated to publishing and disseminating scholarly and professional information. Purdue Press oversees 15 scholarly journals and publishes approximately 30 books annually in a variety of subject areas. It is a leading publisher of books in human-animal bond studies, and its program also includes significant titles in engineering, agriculture, health, business and select fields in the humanities and social sciences.

About the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine

The Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 28 colleges of veterinary medicine in North America and the only one located in Indiana. In addition to providing educational opportunities to students seeking a doctor of veterinary medicine degree, the school also provides programs for students seeking associate and bachelor's degrees in veterinary technology and master's and doctoral degrees in basic medical sciences, comparative pathobiology and veterinary clinical services. The school also houses the Veterinary Teaching Hospital and the Indiana Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.

About the HABRI Foundation

Based in Washington, D.C., the HABRI Foundation ( is a national, nonprofit foundation of animal-focused businesses, organizations and individuals dedicated to promoting the positive role animals play in the health and well-being of people, families and communities.

Contact:  Christopher Charles, HABRI Central Project Manager, 765-516-0609,

Sources:   Alan Beck, 765 494-0854,

                   Charles Watkinson, 765 494-8251,