Transforming Artefacts into Digital Heritage: Developing interactive databases for use by Aboriginal communities

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  • Ton Otto
  • Dianna Hardy, James Cook University, Australia
This paper deals with the possibilities and challenges of the digitisation of artefacts.
It argues that artefacts are complex phenomena that consist of the material
objects as well as the various forms of categorization and documentation that are
connected with the objects. Digitalisation presents a genuine transformation of the
artefacts that opens up new possibilities of use. These include providing access
to and facilitating the reappropriation of cultural knowledge stored elsewhere,
maintaining and developing a living digital cultural heritage, and gathering, sharing
and transferring knowledge that is available within Aboriginal communities. In
this paper we examine different types of digital repositories and we assess their
suitability for use by Aboriginal communities. We classify a number of institutional
archiving systems and analyse in some detail two interactive systems that were
specifically designed for use by Aboriginal communities. The paper ends with a set
of recommendations for designing digital databases for Indigenous usage.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMemoirs of the Queensland Museum-Culture
Pages (from-to)117-132
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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