Purdue University announced today it will launch a new online resource in early 2012 to further the study of the human-animal bond.
The Purdue University Press and School of Veterinary Medicine will develop the site, to be called HABRI Central after the nonprofit Human Animal Bond research Initiative (HABRI) that funded the project through an $831,535 grant. Founding sponsors of HABRI include the American Pet Products Association, Petco and Pfizer Animal Health.
The site 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. Human-animal bond research explores the complex relationships between animals and humans and covers disciplines including agriculture, anthropology, nursing, psychology, sociology, law, veterinary medicine and zoology.
“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,” said Steve Hellem, executive director of the HABRI Foundation. “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.”
The site will be built on the HUBzero platform for scientific collaboration. Purdue originally developed the platform to support the Network for Computational Nanotechnology’s nanoHUB.org, and HUBzero is now used by more than 30 hubs in various fields.
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, and communications professional Christopher Charles will manage it. An editorial board of experts in the field will ensure that the site’s content is relevant to the community of human-animal bond scholars.
Professor Rebecca Johnson of the University of Missouri chairs the project’s management advisory board. Purdue professor Gretchen Stephens will provide bibliographic oversight, and fellow professor Jane Yatcilla will create the underlying taxonomy that will allow browse and search capabilities for the site.