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Presentation on theme: " National Archives of Australia: Digital Futures International Forum, 18-19 September 2007 Taming the Wild Frontier Part 2 Australian."— Presentation transcript:

1 National Archives of Australia: Digital Futures International Forum, 18-19 September 2007 Taming the Wild Frontier Part 2 Australian Innovations in Digital Records Creation and Capture Professor Sue McKemmish Associate Dean Research and Director COSI Centre for Organisational and Social Informatics

2 2 Outline Clever Recordkeeping Metadata Project eResearch infrastructure initiatives – ARROW, DART and ARCHER Trust and Technology: Building Archival Systems for Indigenous Oral Memory –Koorie Annotation System –Koorie Community Archives eResearch Infrastructure for Participatory, Community- Centred Research Digital Futures – Refiguring the Archive Digital Futures – Divided Futures, Inclusive Futures?

3 3 Trust and Technology: Building archival systems for Indigenous oral memory The first Australian research project to address archival needs relating to Koorie oral memory – broadly defined to encompass traditional stories transmitted orally, contemporary narratives, family stories, and narratives that can be recovered from mainstream narratives. It also explores how oral narratives and memories are linked to other forms of records of Koorie people, including government and other institutional archives. Partners Monash Faculty of Information Technology Monash Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies Public Record Office Victoria Koorie Heritage Trust Inc. Koorie Records Taskforce Australian Society of Archivists, Indigenous Issues Special Interest Group Funding ARC Linkage Project Picture used with permission of Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies, Monash University

4 4 The Significance of Oral Memory I think it is very important for us … the stories … of our family and Ancestors, and also … the stories about culture and the law, and the creation stories that are relevant to where we are from, and for our kids as well … Probably the most fundamental thing is an individual's identity, where they fit in, and where they belong is really important. Having some way to re-connect with family, community and culture in that way is a really good path to follow. [i] [Ross 2006]

5 5 Koorie Narratives and Official Records “A recent book … contains the poignant story of Rene Baker, who, 4 years old, was literally snatched from the arms of her mother by a missionary. Being a half-caste she was removed to Mount Margaret Mission. Fifty years later, with the help of Bernadette Kennedy, Rene Baker … went searching for her file. ‘They’ve got me up there in Canberra,’ she explained with a passionate emphasis on the word ‘me’. ‘They’ve got something of me up there and I want it back. They’re keeping me, but in real life they don’t give a stuff because it didn’t happen to them and they’ll never know the experience that I and other kids went through. They keep these things but they don’t respect the experience behind them.’ “ [Ketelaar 2006; Powell & Kennedy 2005, p. 174]

6 6 Trust and Technology Project Outcomes (1) Many of the 100 Koorie community Elders and members interviewed see government, church and other records that relate to them as their records. A commonly expressed view is that the subject of the record or their family have a right to know the records exist, and to be involved in decision-making about access, ownership and control. More generally, from a Koorie perspective, Koorie knowledge and narratives are contained in, and recoverable from, all archival records, including government records

7 7 Trust and Technology Project Outcomes (2) Most interviewees believe that they should be able to “set the record straight”, to annotate official records about them, or have their stories and perspectives linked to the official records. Holistic approaches to building a network of community or family archives and gateways to all records in any form relating to a particular family or community are strongly supported. Linking Koorie knowledge contained in records to place and community is essential.

8 8 Participatory Models of Research and eResearch Infrastructure Building digital research repositories and services to support participatory, community-centred research: Researchers include the community as equal partners. Research emanates from a community-identified problem, expressed in the community’s terms. The community participates in the research design and choice of methodologies. The research is ‘owned’ by all participants, including research data and research outputs. The research seeks validation in the approval of the community that it serves as well as in external validation mechanisms.

9 9 The Koorie Annotation System Using web and mobile phone technology, KAS will enable Koorie people to build web pages which include: –Records of Koorie individuals, families, communities and organisations in any form, including audio and video recordings of oral memory and stories, multimedia representation of art, artefacts, sites, landscapes, etc. –Annotations containing corrections, additions and commentaries relating to “official” records –Interpretation of documents and records –Addition of metadata and contextual information –Linkages to other resources or records held by other organisations or individuals.

10 10 Koorie Community Archives (1) Work with Koorie communities to identify and meet archival needs relating to: memory and identity production, recovery and preservation of Koorie knowledge reconnecting families and building intergenerational relationships regeneration of communities and culture redress of past injustices and reconciliation. Specify archival system and technology requirements, together with appropriate socio-legal, policy, and professional frameworks for the governance, ownership, custody and accessibility of community archives

11 11 Koorie Community Archives (2) Develop models of sustainable Koorie community archives that: provide gateways to all records relating to a community, in whatever form, including government and non- government records, records of Koorie organisations and communities, and family records enable Koorie communities to participate in the management of their own archival records. Understand and articulate the implications of the project findings for dominant archival paradigms and practices

12 12 A Model for Community Archives The Mandela Archive … whereas a conventional archive has a single location and a finite number of documents, the Mandela Archive is an infinite one, located in innumerable places. It is also not confined to documents, but includes sites, landscapes, material objects, performances, photographs, artworks, stories and the memories of individuals [A Prisoner in the Garden]

13 13 Digital futures: “refiguring the archive” Oral forms of records, literature, art, artefacts, the built environment, landscape, dance, ceremonies and rituals tend to be excluded from professional meanings of record, archive and archives. The potential archival or evidentiary nature of these other forms, has not figured in our evidentiary paradigms. Boundaries have been drawn between personal and public recordkeeping, between the private and the public. New wave of ICTs opens up exciting possibilities for “refiguring the archive” and re-drawing the boundaries, challenging traditional ideas about the forms archives take, records creation, ownership and custody, and rights in records. They enable multiple forms, multiple functions, and multiple provenances.

14 14 Digital futures: the possibility of archiving The mutation in technology changes not simply the archiving process, but what is archivable … the way we experience what we want to keep in memory, or in archive – and the two things are different – is conditioned by a certain state, or a certain structure, of the possibility of archiving. So the archive, the technological power of the archive, determines the nature of what has to be archived… Then, of course for that reason … the structure and meaning of the archive is of course dependent on the future, on what is coming, on what will have come. [Derrida 2002, p. 46]

15 15 Digital futures: divided or inclusive? Effective democratization can always be measured by this essential criterion: the participation in and access to the archive, its constitution, and its interpretation’. [Derrida 1996, p. 4]

16 16 References A Prisoner in the Garden: Opening Nelson Mandela’s Prison Archive, Viking 2005 Jacques Derrida, Archive Fever, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996 Jacques Derrida “Archive Fever in South Africa”, in Carolyn Hamilton et al, Refiguring the Archive, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2002 Eric Ketelaar, ‘Access: The Democratic Imperative’, Archives and Manuscripts 34:2, November 2006. Rene Powell and Bernadette Kennedy, 2005. Rene Baker. File #28 /EDP Fremantle Arts Centre Press, Fremantle, p. 174 Fiona Ross, Sue McKemmish, Shannon Faulkhead, “Indigenous Knowledge and the Archives: Designing Trusted Archival Systems for Koorie Communities”, Archives and Manuscripts 34:2, 2006, pp. 112-51 [[i] Trust and Technology Interview No. 42, p.4].[i] Clever Recordkeeping Metadata Project: ARROW: Australian Research Repositories Online to the World DART: Dataset Acquisition, Accessibility and Annotations eResearch Technologies ARCHER:

17 17 Trust and Technology Project Acknowledgement I gratefully acknowledge the others working with me on the ARC Linkage Project, Trust and Technology: Building an archival system for Indigenous oral memory (T&T Project). The Chief Investigators are Professor Lynette Russell, Centre for Australian Indigenous Studies, Monash University (CAIS), Professor Sue McKemmish, Faculty of Information Technology, Monash University (FIT), Professor Don Schauder (FIT), Dr Graeme Johanson (from 2005, FIT), and Dr Kirsty Williamson (2003-4, FIT), with Partner Investigator Justine Heazlewood, Director and Keeper, Public Record Office Victoria (PROV). The industry partners are PROV, the Koorie Heritage Trust Inc. (KHT), the Australian Society of Archivists Indigenous Issues Special Interest Group, and the Victorian Koorie Records Taskforce. Past and current members of the Research Team include Andrew Waugh (PROV), Rachel U’Ren (FIT and PROV), Emma Toon (PROV) and Merryn Edwards (PROV), Sharon Huebner (KHT and FIT), Diane Singh (CAIS), Dr Stefanie Kethers (FIT), Fiona Ross (FIT), Carol Jackway (FIT), and Jen Sullivan (FIT). The Australian Postgraduate Award (Industry) PhD researcher is Shannon Faulkhead (CAIS). We thank our Advisory Committee, in particular the continued support of Aunty Joan Vickery. We particularly acknowledge the vital role undertaken by the project’s Koorie Liaison Officer, Diane Singh (CAIS). We acknowledge the traditional owners of the land and thank the 100 members of the Koorie communities of Victoria who agreed to be interviewed as part of the project; who shared their views and experiences with us and gave permission for the use of the interview transcripts for the research purposes of the project.

18 18 Centre for Organisational and Social Informatics COSI aims to contribute to the development of individuals, organisations and society through research into human- centred design, deployment and the creative use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in government, organisations and civil society COSI brings together researchers in: Knowledge & information management Information technology management Information systems development Recordkeeping & archival systems Community networking Librarianship Computing education

19 Thank You

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