Learn about the Crowdsourcing Project behind the Indigenous Digital Archive at the DLF Forum

Digirati are pleased to be involved in the DLF Forum this year, in particular we felt the current theme of community-driven cultural memory for marginalized people resonated strongly with some of our recent projects.

One such project is the Indigenous Digital Archive (IDA) which will enable engagement with authentic public documents of community history, government actions, and civic life in New Mexico. The first phase of which will focus on open public records related to land and to the government Indian Boarding Schools from the late 1800s into the 1920s and 30s.

The project builds on digital images of over 120 linear feet of United States government records captured on microfilm in the 1970s, amounting to approximately 0.5m pages of letters, reports, photographs and administrative material relating to the Indian Schools program in the South West from the Indian Wars of the 1800s to the 1930s. These records have never before been readily available to the people and communities they relate to.

The solution we built uses Digital Library Cloud Services (DLCS) components to deliver an open source crowdsourcing platform that includes tools to help prepare archival source material for the project, and tools to manage the taxonomy that emerges from it (see Sorting Room and Topic Manager here). Native Americans and other volunteers will be directly working with the platform on this material as part of the crowdsourcing activities and the results will be publically available. The feedback so far has been excellent, in the words of one constituent: ‘This is an incredible step forward for all of us.’.

Dr. Anna Naruta-Moya will be presenting an overview of this project during a Forum session on Tuesday, October 24th. In the meantime, a summary of the project can be found here.

The IDA is a project of the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in partnership with the New Mexico State Library Tribal Libraries Program and the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. The IDA is funded by an IMLS National Leadership Grant and the Knight Foundation.

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