M.A. Theses: Sarah Lison, 2017


The Sacred and the Digital: Managing Heritage in an Open Access World



While the mantra of “free information” is often heard in online communities, concerns over privacy remain a point of contention. Indigenous communities wishing to manage heritage digitally may find difficulty reconciling the benefits of digital platforms with traditional protocols governing how information should be shared. This research examines the strategies employed by five First Nations in British Columbia to incorporate heritage into information management systems for Nation operations. I do this through a series of interviews with members, staff and contractors of the participating Nations who have been involved in the selection and use of these platforms. The questions asked focus on the challenges of finding suitable software, and the needs for improvement in both software function and user experience. I conclude that the greatest barriers to creating software environments suitable for sensitive heritage lie not in technological capability, but in social dynamics between software developers and communities.

Keywords: digital heritage; content management systems; Indigenous software; intellectual property; digital sovereignty; Indigenous heritage