Issues for Australian Indigenous Culture Online

Issues for Australian Indigenous Culture Online

Cat Kutay (The University of New South Wales, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-883-8.ch015
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Information Technology is the most versatile technology yet developed. By enabling the components to be altered using a language emulating the spoken tongue, we have a technology that can readily be adapted to new situations. This flexibility is exemplified by the resources provided by the open source community which covers a wide range of applications including communication protocols, file conversions and web services. However the designers of this technology are still located in a cultural milieu which may not accommodate the needs of all users. This chapter looks at how innovative technology and software can meet the needs of some of the most dispossessed people through supporting Indigenous knowledge sharing. In designing Appropriate Technology, engineers consider the technical, environmental, social and economic aspects affecting uptake, as well as cultural suitability. Using this approach, the author considers IT uptake in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia.
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Indigenous people in Australia are unified by not just their cultural heredity, but also by a strong identity with and ongoing maintenance of that culture even in urban areas,1 including the importance of reciprocity and caring and sharing with their people, which provides connectedness within the community (Martin, 2000). In Australia, Indigenous people have mostly avoided colonisation and retained their culture within the mainstream (eg Schwab, 1995).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Computer Services: Applications and hardware designed for servicing a need.

Computer Mediated Human Interaction: Human Computer Interaction with Ubiquitous Computing where the emphasis is on human management of information for sharing.

Open Source Development: programs developed and shared online, including the source code, on web sites set up to provide this service.

Appropriate Technology: The re-design of technology to suit a different culture to which it was intended.

Knowledge Management: how information is stored and shared with the aim of producing knowledge or understanding in others.

Indigenous Protocol: the process required by Indigenous people in negotiations, usually relating to sharing knowledge.

Social Computing: Computer applications for supporting communities online.

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