Digitised indigenous knowledge in cultural heritage organisations in Australia and New Zealand: An examination of policy and protocols



This research project investigates the digital collections from selected heritage organisations, exploring how and if the rights of Indigenous peoples are being protected by policy and protocol documents on the Web. It surveys selected heritage collections across Australia and New Zealand and explores digital collection policies at local and national level, investigating the extent of international pressure, socio-cultural influences, and legislative constraints. This research project uses qualitative methodology in an interpretive way for the collation for data and analysis. The major finding of this research project is that many cultural heritage organisations in the two countries investigated attempt to bridge the gap between Anglo-American development of legislation and Indigenous intellectual property rights by the inclusion of specific policy measures. These organisations thus in the process, are increasingly becoming in effect socio-cultural agents for change. The main themes that emerged from this study are that of cultural, legislative and structural influences. They outline the fundamental characteristics of the policies and protocols of cultural heritage organisations in Australia and New Zealand.