Pratt SILS Cultural Heritage: Description and Access Spring 2011


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Pratt SILS Cultural Heritage: Description and Access Spring 2011

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  2. 2. American Indian Digital Libraries: An Examination of the National Museum of the American Indian's Electronic Collection<br />Ellen Creece, Margarita Mirabal<br />Cultural Heritage LIS 697 Spring 2011<br />School of Information and Library Science. Pratt Institute<br />ABSTRACT <br />The challenges for a Western librarian/archivist to apply best practices when dealing with culturally sensitive Native American materials is the main topic of this project. These challenges have now moved into the digital environment where the risks of spreading forms of knowledge that are not intended to be openly distributed is higher than ever before. The Protocols for Native American Archival materials intend to instill concerns for Native American values into the librarian community. How the NMAI addresses the protocols through their website is our case study. <br />SITE EVALUATION CRITERIA<br />The website was assessed based upon: Presentation: The overall look and design of the website and its effect on the user's ability to utilize the site effectively.<br />Navigation: The tools used to aid the user in finding and accessing materials on the website. Search: This includes the levels and facets of the search, its ease of use and efficiency <br />RESULTS <br />The NMAI is not only interested in maintaining high standards in the museology and an archival fields, the museum also is an advocate for the indigenous rights over their cultural heritage and promotes the collaboration with the communities as the best practices. An overview through its main website and its Collection Search portal demonstrate how the views and interests of both parties are not as irreconcilable as they may seem, and how the protocols may be effectively applied. <br />The site is effective; it has a variety of entry points that help users to access the desired information at different levels. The creation of their own controlled vocabulary works due to the special nature of this collection where general standards such as AAT or LCSH would not be as specific as needed. <br />PROTOCOLS FOR NATIVE AMERICAN ARCHIVAL MATERIALS<br />Main topics:<br />_Consultation with tribal communities<br />_Understanding NA value system<br />_Rethinking use of certain materials<br />_Provide context<br />_Cultural property rights<br />_Copying, sharing and repatriation<br />_Recognition of community research protocols<br />_Education and training<br />_Awareness within information profession<br />Controlled Vocabularies: An examination of the use of controlled vocabularies and authority data User Help/Assistance: Tools, help files, and contact points for the user to refer to if they are having difficulty navigating or using the website's features.<br />INTRODUCTION<br />Native American communities refers to Indian (First Nation), Eskimo (Inuit), and Aleut individuals and communities in the United States and Canada as well as Native Hawaiians. For the scope of this project the term also includes Central, South American, and Caribbean indigenous populations. This conceptual extension is based on the content of the NMAI website.<br />NMAI THESAURI<br />In-house thesauri for collection’s specific needs<br />METHODOLOGY<br />A cultural methodology was adopted for a better understanding of the peculiarities of the Native American communities. Systems of thought, cosmogony, behavioural patterns, and values may vary from one community to another. <br />A usability test was run to evaluate the overall functionality of the NMAI Research Portal from an average user-end perspective. <br />_Peoples/Cultures Thesaurus Reference List Object Specifics: _Materials/Media Reference List _Techniques Reference List _Object Types Reference List<br />CONTENT ANALYSIS (Main disclosures)<br />Digital collection content: Only artefacts/objects & photographs (non sensitive materials) <br />Terms of use: “the use of information provided will not be detrimental to indigenous people or culture”<br />Provenance: Collective work of accredited researchers and NA authorities<br />Repatriation program: Therepatriation office was established exclusively for this subject <br />Errors and omissions: NMAI may be contacted to fix or add information<br />CONCLUSIONS<br />Working with multicultural materials demand a permanent commitment with the population represented in the collection. This is only possible by maintaining an open dialog with the representatives of those communities. Understanding their concepts and principles is a key element for a successful work. <br />REFERENCES<br /><br /><br />
  3. 3. Unwritten History in a Paperless Age: Looking at Oral History in 2011<br />by Amelia Catalano, <br />Christina N. Manzella, & Lisa Paolucci<br />LIS 670 - Cultural Heritage: Access and Description, Spring 2011<br />Pratt Institute - School of Information and Library Science<br />A Brief History of Oral History <br />Oral history came about when humans fisrt started to communicate. It quickly evolved into a means of communicating every aspect of those first cultures, from entertainment, to religion, to history. The practice of oral traditions coexisted with written culture until the rise of universities during the middle ages when it became increasingly necessary to have a permanent, traceable source. This transition was also fostered by the invention of movable type which made paper sources of information readily available. Oral tradition became increasingly marginalized as a means of cultural transaction, especially in European cultures. Many of the issues raised with oral histories were based on reliability of source (transcripted records and memory), and from a disregard of the cultures which practiced oral traditions. In 1948 Columbia University started their Oral History Department as a means to add depth to existing written historical records. In the 1960s, many of the civil rights movement groups took on the practice of oral history archiving as a way of recording the history of people who, up until that point, did not have a recorded history. Recently there has been a general acceptance of oral history as a reliable source, a supplement to written history, and a a primary historical source in its own right. There has also been a move away from transcriptions, which have accuracy issues, to recordings as the best means of preservation of oral histories.<br />Broadcastr App Brings BHS' Oral Histories to their Geographical Locations<br />The Brooklyn Historical Society is using the Broadcastr App for the iPhone to share the oral histories included on their Fort Greene walking tour.  Clearly, this technology allows for both greater access to oral histories as well as the opportunity to create our own recordings.  in addition, we can imagine that hearing oral histories while walking through the actual locations will allow for moments of deeper insight.  See Sady. (2011). Listen to Brooklyn.  The Brooklyn Historical Society Blog.  Retrieved from<br /><br />The HistoryMakers Digital Archive<br />This digital archive of African American oral histories uses technology that makes mere linear searches a thing of the past.  Users can access and manipulate the video recordings (with their accompanying text) through many channels.  Naturally, digital archives such as tihs one will lead to the creation of new meanings and exciting discoveries.<br />Virtual Reality & the Presentation of Oral Histories<br />Lesley J.F. Green's work with video recordings of interviews with the Palikur people of Arukwa in Northern Brazil illuminates the new possibilities that digital technology provides cultural heritage practitioners.  Virtual worlds, resembling those used in contemporary video games, can be created to reflect the particular knowledge frameworks of whatever culture is being represented through oral histories.  Therefore, the medium itself can be as informative as the material within the interviews.  New media allows our experience of heritage to more closely resemble the subject that is being reproduced.  See Green, L. (2007). Cultural heritage, archives, and citizenship: reflections on using virtual reality for presenting knowledge diversity in the public sphere.  Critical Arts, 21(2): 308-320.<br />University of Southern Mississippi's Civil Rights Documentation Project,<br />A Truly Democratized Process and Product<br />If one of the initial goals of the social history movement of the 1970s was to democratize history through new methods of recording it such as oral histories, the technology of the digital age is helping this goal reach complete fruition. Institutions are finding it easier than ever to provide the general public with access to their oral history collections thanks to the internet. Take, for instance, Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project, whose digital archive houses nearly 500 video interviews freely accessible through their website. Additionally, it is now easier to record and edit one's own oral history with a plethora of guides and toolkits as well as open source software available from the web. Organizations like StoryCorps are also pushing to record and share the stories of everyday Americans.<br />The HistoryMakers digital archive allows for multiple browsing views based on a variety of data.  See Christel, M., Richardson, J., & Wactlar, H. (2006). Facilitating access to large digital oral history archives through Informedia technologies.  In Proc. Joint Conference on Digital Libraries (pp. 194-195).  Chapel Hill, NC: JCDL. <br />
  4. 4. Ryan Evans & Stephanie Romano<br />
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