Sunday, 14 July 2013

Annotated Bibliographies

Brown, D., & Sullivan, R. (2007). Te Ahu Hiko: digital cultural heritage and indigenous objects, people, and environments. Theorizing Digital Cultural Heritage, A Critical Discourse, 77-92.

Description: This chapter examines the possible heritage applications of three-dimensional augmented and virtual reality to New Zealand Maori treasures, bodies and landscapes, examining the potential benefits and problems this technology presents for institutions and indigenous people. It draws experience from bicultural pilot projects involving the collaboration of museum professionals, curators, Maori participants, software and hardware industries, and academics.
Evaluation: This article was useful as it enabled me to see how the digitising of Maori treasures allows the reconnection of indigenous people to these taonga. It is possible to achieve this through the ability to virtually 'return' items dispersed across the globe to museums and private collections. It also enables in a virtual way the possibility to make comparisons between objects in diverse physical locations provides opportunities to make connections in a way that was not possible even a decade ago. It highlights the issue that it may not be possible for the inherent cultural properties of objects, people and places to be retained when digitised. The article provided a balanced perspective of the benefits and potential issues caused by the use of these technologies.

Burri, M. (2010). Digital technologies and traditional cultural expressions: a positive look at a difficult relationship. International Journal of Cultural Property, 17 (01), 33-63.

Description: This article examines the validity of the claim that digital technologies are damaging traditional cultural expressions in technical and socio-cultural contexts. On the technical side it is related to the ability of digital media to allow instantaneous access to information without real location constraints, lightening fast data transport and reproduction without any loss of quality. In a socio-cultural context it is related to the relationship between digital technologies and the spread of globalisation. It identifies ways in which digital technologies may be beneficial to traditional cultural knowledge. It illustrates that some digital technologies can be used to protect and enhance traditional cultural expressions. It also identifies how the Internet and World Wide Web have had a profound impact on the ways cultural content is created, disseminated, accessed and consumed.
Evaluation: The article provides a balanced presentation of the arguments around the validity of the claim that digital technologies are damaging to traditional cultural expressions. It identifies clearly that any discussion around traditional cultural expressions cannot take place in a parallel space devoid of a digitally connected world. Rather the issue becomes how can digital technologies be used to protect and promote the formation, creation and expression of traditional cultural responses. It highlights through the reduced economic threshold for entry and the increased dynamics and diversity of content that the empowerment of users and communities can enhance traditional cultural expressions. It also talks in concrete terms about the ability to tailor digital tools to provide the distinctions of secret, sacred and open knowledge. The final part of the article regarding the tailoring of digital tools is of particular interest to me in terms of the protection of indigenous knowledge.

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