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The Murkurtu Archive

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The Murkurtu Archive is a browser based digital archive built around the cultural protocols of the Warumungu Aboriginal community in Australia’s Northern Territory. The Mukurtu Archives serves as a source of indigenous heritage for the people of the Warumungu community which is found in Tennant Creek, N.T. Australia. This vast source of information was created by the community with the assistance of researchers such as Kimberly Chrixten, Craig Dietrich, Chris Cooney and Tim Dietrich. This archive is housed at the Nyinkka Nyunyu Art and Culture centre. This archive acts as a tool of preserving this community’s heritage and it tries to achieve rhetorical and cultural sovereignty of the Warumungu community. This center offers a chance for the people to add historical artifacts and also have rights in controlling the access and use of this artifact. The people of the Warumungu community use this archive to reproduce, transmit cultural knowledge and materials.

The content is basically inclusive of the things and items that were found in the people’s culture and how they used them. These include the bush medicine, animals and other artifacts that the Warumungu community cherishes as their heritage. The structure of the content is divided in categories. The categories are further divided into subcategories and then individual files. Then the way to access particular information is through query. The uploaded information is stored in a database and in reference to the given categories you search for information you need. The categories are such as families which are the contents that based on the profile based content delivery and my collections which is generated by the users of the archive. Artifacts such as bush medicine, animals and other items are stored for peoples viewing. This categories are used to search for an item and then you further specify in the query the date when created then it is followed by the family which was involved to profile it. To access a particular item you will choose the sub category if bush medicine, artifacts, songs and dances, and many others. Then you choose the type of media that you need to use that is burn on a CD or print a hard copy.

The content in the archive is termed to be in a safe place because every one can only access what they have password to.

How it achieves cultural power and sovereignty

It has restrictions and one person can not access information of other people. The Archive provides a cultural solution to the community’s concern over access to and the reproduction of the digitized versions of cultural materials and personal community photos. The community needed way to manage and maintain the cultural protocols surrounding the viewing, circulation and reproduction of these materials.  The cultural protocols for example men could not view women’s rituals in real offline life also on this site the restriction goes such as people from one country which is a specific area cannot view the things from another  country without permission and family members do not view files of the deceased. To create the archive we leveraged the existing code of ethics and created a database based on logic, with mysql structure and interface features.

This archive achieves rhetorical and cultural sovereignty in the way they manage the affairs of their community and the normal code of ethics followed in real life situations has also be implemented on the site. Thus there is complete control in the viewing, circulation and reproduction of these cultural materials and information. This is a success of the site.

This site or archive tool emphasizes access, accountability and cultural protocols that guide the way people interact with sort, search for and reproduce cultural materials=, images and the knowledge associated with them. The archive not only for conservation but cultural system information management system and it is accessible through socially adaptable and culturally acceptable means. Improvement can be the specification of areas occupied by certain families or in other words mapping capabilities and also addition of public collections and the production of remix versions.

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