'This week the Digital Public Library of America is holding its “DPLAFest” in Boston. It’s a heady moment, with libraries and archives across the country racing to digitize their collections, in the spirit of democratizing access to materials that may have been previously available only to specialists, or languishing on dusty shelves.
For indigenous communities, digitization presents at least two challenges. On the one hand, not all information actually “wants to be free.” This is an argument powerfully made by anthropologist Kimberly Christen, who—with a team of tribal elders, legal scholars, and web experts—has developed a special content management system for indigenous digital archives. Mukurtu offers a system of “traditional knowledge licenses” and flexible cultural protocols to let elders and communities determine who gets access to texts or images that may be culturally sensitive or sacred. Like Omeka, the public-history platform developed out of George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media, it is built to empower communities to make their own archives, on their own terms....'