Respecting Indigenous Culture and Rights in the Digital Commons [Munch & Mull Digital Scholarship discussion group]
Libraries and other cultural heritage institutions have been early and enthusiastic adopters of technologies that make collections more broadly accessible and discoverable. Such practice is generally viewed as positive, for the ways that it can increase awareness and study of different cultural and historical experiences. Within that context, Kimberly Christen’s 2015 article on the unique intellectual property and cultural concerns of indigenous cultural artifacts is both startling and insightful, for highlighting how such collections reflect past destruction of indigenous groups and for introducing alternative ways of handling and digitally presenting indigenous objects.
Christen, Kimberly (2015) "Tribal Archives, Traditional Knowledge, and Local Contexts: Why the “s” Matters," Journal of Western Archives: Vol. 6: Iss. 1, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/westernarchives/vol6/iss1/3
Some of the concerns Christen raises and addresses in this article are
- Digitization processes for culturally significant objects,
- Indigenous intellectual property rights,
- Indigenous community access to these materials, and
- Respect for and response to community concerns about what objects are made digitally and publically available.
ITS staff member and repository developer Jack Hill, who attended the Design for Diversity Opening Forum at Northeastern University in October, will lead discussion of this reading -- one of many included in the foundational readings for that forum and that we’ll be discussing in Munch & Mull over the next few months. The IMLS-funded Design for Diversity grant seeks to develop a toolkit for developing and implementing more inclusive library systems and practices.