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Indigenous Knowledge Management Overview

The objective of this project is to investigate how information technology tools and standards can be refined and extended to enable indigenous communities to preserve and protect their unique indigenous cultures, knowledge and artefacts whilst supporting traditional protocols and facilitating better cross-cultural communication and understanding.

The specific project goals are to:

  • Collaborate with Indigenous communities or custodial organisations (museums, archives, cultural centres) holding collections of culturally-sensitive resources which they would like to preserve, protect and repatriate;
  • Work with Indigenous communities to determine their requirements with respect to:
    • the content description, annotation and search interface tools;
    • the customary laws and protocols which apply to the handling, storage and access to these resources (both physical and digital) e.g.:
      • gender-based access;
      • elder-only access;
      • role-based access;
      • kinship-based access;
      • sorrow business - restricted access during mourning periods
    • the definition and enforcement of these customary laws using information technology tools.
  • Develop metadata models and schemas which satisfy the indexing, search, retrieval and access-control requirements of Indigenous communities;
  • Develop open source software tools and IT security mechanisms (encryption, authentication, digital signatures etc.), which enable Indigenous communities to easily describe, annotate and control access to resources in their collections;
  • Implement search and retrieval interfaces to Indigenous collections which enforce tribal protocols by restricting access and retrieving search results depending on the user's profile and authority.