Datadiversity and Visual Knowledge: Exploring the Emergent Models for Indigenous Databases in Australia

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This paper analyzes a project to compile a range of related resources into a digital repository and (hyper) linked to relevant points in a key text, "Journey to Horseshoe Bend" by TGH Strehlow. These will explicitly be mapped into a range of visual representations and then supplemented with (hyper) links to relevant images, documents, media resources, and other online collections.The project engages with modeling Indigenous knowledge and draws on the oral histories and input from Arrernte people (Central Australia) as content providers. Questions remain as to the best form through which the database should operate to provide best practice for Indigenous access to knowledge databases. For comparative purposes, the paper will interrogate the emergence of Indigenous Knowledge Database projects (Paradisec, IKDS, ara Erritja) in Australia and will position our own project among them as a means of critically evaluating the emergence of these systems as repositories and ontologies for Indigenous knowledge maintenance and documentation. The paper will focus its examination on “alternative ontologies” (Christie: 1993) in Aboriginal databases and the implications for an ethos of cultural diversity in this field.


Keywords: Datadiversity, Aboriginal, Ontology, Diversity, Database, Digital
Stream: Representations: Media, Communications, Arts, Literature
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Prof. Hart Cohen

Associate Head, School of Communication Arts, University of Western Sydney
Penrith, New South Wales, Australia

Dr Hart Cohen is Associate Professor in Media Arts in the School of Communication Arts at the University of Western Sydney, Australia. He has held numerous administrative positions in both undergraduate and postgraduate programs and currently is Associate Head of School and directs Research and Postgraduate Studies. Professor Cohen has directed two Australian Research Council Projects related to the Strehlow Collection held at the Strehlow Research Centre in Alice Springs. The current project is related to Strehlow’s memoire, "Journey to Horseshoe Bend". Two films have been made in relation to these projects: Mr. Strehlow’s Films (SBSI 2001) and Cantata Journey (ABC TV 2006). Professor Cohen edited a special issue of i> on the theme of Digital Anthropology (MIA 116 August 2005) and is cuuretly coauthor of Screen Media Arts: An Introduction to Concepts and Practices for Oxford University Press.

Ref: D08P0398