Otto, T. & Hardy, D.
Otto, T. & Hardy, D. 2016. Transforming Artefacts into Digital Heritage: Developing interactive databases for use by Aboriginal communities. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum – Culture 10: 117-132. Brisbane. ISSN 2205-3220
digital artefacts, cultural heritage, digitisation, interactive database, Gugu Badhun, Ara Irititja
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.