D-Lib Magazine
March 2002

Volume 8 Number 3

ISSN 1082-9873


Special Issue on Digital Technology and Indigenous Communities

This month, I was pleased to collaborate with guest editors Daniel E. Atkins and Maurita Peterson Holland in the production of this special issue of D-Lib Magazine on the application of digital technologies in indigenous communities.

The idea for this special issue was first suggested by Ron Larsen, Chair of the D-Lib Forum Advisory Board, who felt the themes of an NSF-supported meeting in Hilo, Hawaii, last summer merited special attention by the D-Lib Magazine readership. He invited Hilo participants to submit manuscripts, and several authors responded with the articles in this issue.

In the first article, Karen Worcman, founder and director of the Museu da Pessoa (Museum of the Person), considers how digital technologies and the Internet can be instruments of social and cultural inclusion. She demonstrates how information technology can preserve personal narrative that, in turn, builds the history of a group and thereby contributes to global history that has never been told. Next, Maurita Holland ponders the relationship of indigenous communities to information technology, provides an example of a successful collaboration between a Native American community and the University of Michigan, and describes a model for collaboration that emerged from the Hilo meeting. In their article, Loriene Roy and Peter Larsen document how they incorporated Native American educator Gregory Cajete's educational philosophy into a library science class at the University of Texas at Austin. In so doing, they enriched the curriculum and expanded the students' understanding of an "educational journey" toward individual development. Finally, Michael Seadle draws examples from the Levi-Strauss study of indigenous people in Brazil, Geertz's research in Bali, and Kluckhorn and Leighton's Navajo education research to caution that cultural expectation of the creators and users of intellectual property requires sensitivity and careful negotiation that may extend well beyond the law of established geo-political boundaries.

Conclusions and recommendations drawn from discussions at the Hilo meeting are provided in the guest editorial by Dan and Maurita.

We are at a critical point in the digitization of worldwide cultural information resources. It is hoped that the concerns raised in this issue of D-Lib Magazine will help to inform those who will engage in those digitization initiatives.

Bonita Wilson

Copyright © 2002 Corporation for National Research Initiatives

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DOI : 10.1045/march2002-editorial