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Alissa Cherry, Sarah Dupont, & Gerry Lawson

ASIS&T Presents… Indigitization: Supporting the Digitization, Preservation, and Management of Indigenous Community Knowledge

Saturday, March 25 2:15 pm – 3:00 pm

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Session Summary

Diverse Indigenous cultures thrived in British Columbia until assailed by mechanisms of colonization. One element of Indigenous resilience was embedding precious fragments of Community knowledge in magnetic media. These media are increasingly inaccessible due to the deterioration of their physical format.

Funding programs to digitize analog media often come with inappropriate accessibility requirements and taxing reporting. ll-suited “best practices” concerning information management serve as an extra barrier.

The panelists in this session share an awareness that existing information practices are firmly rooted in Western knowledge systems that are not always appropriate when dealing with Indigenous traditional knowledge. This session will add depth and nuance to issues surrounding the digitization of material related to Indigenous community knowledge and provide examples of ways to do this work while challenging institutional norms.

About the Speakers

Alissa Cherry, Research Manager at the Audrey & Harry Hawthorn Library & Archives at the Museum of Anthropology (MOA) at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Alissa is a member of the Academy of Certified Archivists and holds an MLIS from UBC. Prior to joining MOA in 2014, Alissa managed the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs Resource Centre for 9 years, worked for both the BC Aboriginal Child Care Society and Xwi7xwa Library at UBC, and spent six years as Librarian in Yellowstone National Park.


Sarah Dupont, Metis from Prince George, B.C., is the Indigitization project manager. This project is one of her duties as the Aboriginal Engagement Librarian at UBC Library, specific to her work with the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. She coordinates grant development and promotion, supports project participants, and identifies partnership opportunities.


Gerry Lawson, member of the Heiltsuk First Nation, is the Coordinator for the Oral History and Language Lab, at the UBC Museum of Anthropology and the technology lead for the Indigitization Program.