For my research topic I would like to look at how digital technology impacts on the notion of 'ownership' of cultural and indigenous knowledge. I would like to focus on this issues of storage and access of information in my research. The increased use of cloud-based solutions and remote storage is of interest to me.
From my initial research it seems that existing intellectual property law is inadequate to cover the use of knowledge in digital spaces, as it appears most of this legislation applies to physical rather than virtual environments. This may become an increasing focus as this topic is refined.
I choose this topic because I have seen in decile 1-3 schools a focus on increasing the engagement of Maori/ Pasefika communities with digital technologies and the concept of the global learning community. There has from what I can see at the moment been very little research around the implications of this on the use and transmission of traditional and specialised knowledge. The notion of access for all that we promote is in direct contrast to traditional views around the transmission of specialised knowledge. The whare wananga is a good example of this-specialised knowledge whether around geneology, carving or medicine was only shared with an elite.
From my initial scope of the literature there appears to be quite a bit of work done around the implications of this for libraries and museums in terms of storage and access. There has been some research done in a local context concerning the transfer of inherent and essential qualities of an object, person or environment and whether their meaning and significance are transferred to the virtual form. Paul Tapsell identified many interrelated qualities that apply: mana, tapu, korero, karakia, whakapapa, wairua, mauri, ihi, wehi, and wana, none of which are visual qualities. The integrity of information in regard to these qualities is important to consider.
One of the major questions appear to be around the appropriateness of IP legislation in a virtual space. The other question seems to be around the transfer of protocols from a physical to a digital space. The other question is a pivotal one-that being around the appropriateness of new technologies being applied to traditional knowledge in the first place.
The topic has implications at a local, national and global level. The localised use of knowledge to build and maintain specific community links in a remote manner is an area of particular interest to me at a micro level. The macro implications of IP law is also an important consideration. In our context the development and preservation of traditional Maori knowledge is also impacted by this.
I think this topic has a high level of currency. The ability with the advent of social networking tools and the accessibility to information and images through the use of smart technologies blurs the traditional parameters around use and prohibition related to indigenous knowledge.
I welcome your guys feedback on this.
For the teachers out there try to have a break :)