Metadata Driven by Indigenous Communities in Canada’s North: An Exploration

Regions: Inuvialuit Settlement Region

Tags: social sciences

Principal Investigator: Farnel, Sharon (1)
Licence Number: 16342
Organization: University of Alberta
Licenced Year(s): 2018
Issued: Jun 28, 2018
Project Team: Makere Stewart-Harawira (Research Co-Supervisor, University of Alberta, University of Alberta), Ethel-Jean Gruben (Manager, Inuvialuit Cultural Centre/Project Collaborator, Inuvialuit Cultural Centre), Deanna Marie Jacobson (Regional Language Consultant, Inuvialuit Cultural Centre/Project Collaborator, Inuvialuit Cultural Centre)

Objective(s): To gain insight into what characterizes culturally appropriate metadata frameworks for digital libraries of cultural resources and what processes can be used for developing them.

Project Description: The purpose of this project is to gain insight into what characterizes culturally appropriate metadata frameworks for digital libraries of cultural resources and what processes can be used for developing them. Specifically, the research team are seeking to better understand how Indigenous communities in northern Canada characterize culturally appropriate metadata frameworks for digital libraries of cultural resources, and what processes are appropriate and effective in developing such frameworks. The guiding research questions are: a) how do Indigenous communities in northern Canada characterize culturally appropriate metadata frameworks for digital libraries of cultural resources? and, b) what processes are appropriate and effective in developing such conceptual frameworks?

The methodology for the project is participatory case study. Materials gathered through the Digital Library North (DLN) project to be used for further qualitative analysis include survey data, interview transcripts, field notes, and user testing transcripts. In addition, the research team will also engage with Inuvik Community Corporation (ICC) staff and with community collaborators.

The team will make use of a variety of methods, predominantly qualitative in nature, including interviews, informal conversations and open houses, as well as ethnographic methods such as participant observation, focus groups, and participant reflection. Data analysis will begin with the materials gathered as part of the DLN project work, and will continue in parallel with interviews and focus groups, open houses and demonstrations, and participant reflections. Data from the different sources will be analysed together following the constant comparative method.

This project builds upon and expands the work of the Digital Library North project, specifically focusing on community-driven standards for appropriate and accessible metadata for cultural resources in digital libraries. This will support information organization, access and retrieval within the digital library and can serve as a model for other Northern communities wishing to develop digital libraries. The project will have wider social benefit by contributing to: a) the enhancement of the Inuvialuit Digital Library, b) engagement with partners in the North in exploring opportunities to impact lives and cultures in a positive way, c) the development of a community-driven metadata framework that can act as a model for other Northern communities wishing to develop digital libraries, d) development of processes for researchers and communities to work together appropriately and effectively to develop similar frameworks.

Ongoing updates on the study, as well as the final results, will be shared with the participating communities through workshops, information sessions and open houses, and depositing copies of the any presentations, publications, and final dissertation in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region digital library as well as at the ICC and existing libraries in the region. There will also be opportunities to share results with academic and practitioner communities. Project collaborators will be core to appropriate and effective sharing of the goals and results of the project.

The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from June 28, 2018 to December 31, 2018.