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TK Labels

The TK and BC Labels are an initiative for Indigenous communities and local organizations. Developed through sustained partnership and testing within Indigenous communities across multiple countries, the Labels allow communities to express local and specific conditions for sharing and engaging in future research and relationships in ways that are consistent with already existing community rules, governance and protocols for using, sharing and circulating knowledge and data. Communities customize their TK & BC Labels. To do this you will need to use the Local Contexts Hub which allows community control over customization and delivery to institutions, data repositories and other organizations.

The TK Labels support the inclusion of local protocols for access and use to cultural heritage that is digitally circulating outside community contexts. The TK Labels identify and clarify community-specific rules and responsibilities regarding access and future use of traditional knowledge. This includes sacred and/or ceremonial material, material that has gender restrictions, seasonal conditions of use and/or materials specifically designed for outreach purposes. 

The TK Label text is intended to be customized by each community – giving the Labels specificity and context. The title of each TK Label can be translated into one or more languages and displayed in addition to the default Label title. The TK Label icons are not to be altered.  This is to ensure national and international recognition and integrity across content and collection management systems, online repositories, websites, and physical exhibits.

For more information on implementing and displaying the TK Labels, please contact the Local Contexts team.

Español / Spanish

Las Etiquetas de Conocimiento Tradicional (CT) son una herramienta para comunidades y pueblos Indígenas para agregar protocolos culturales locales respecto al acceso y uso de patrimonio cultural que está circulando digitalmente online fuera de los contextos locales de la comunidad. Estas Etiquetas ofrecen una estrategia educativa e informacional para ayudar a usuarios externos a la comunidad entender la importancia y valor que estos materiales tienen para las comunidades de origen. El etiquetado de conocimiento tradicional ha sido diseñado para identificar y clarificar qué materiales tienen restricciones comunitarias específicas respecto a su acceso y uso. Esto en particular en relación a material sagrado y/o ceremonial, material con restricciones de género, condiciones de uso estacionales y/o materiales diseñados específicamente para actividades de difusión o educativas. Las Etiquetas de CT también pueden ser usadas para agregar información “faltante,” incluyendo el nombre de la comunidad creadora o custodios culturales del material circulante y cómo ponerse en contacto con los miembros de la comunidad para coordinar y regularizar los permisos de acceso y uso apropiados.

Français / French

Les étiquettes de savoir traditionnel (ST) sont des outils permettant aux communautés autochtones de lier leurs protocoles internes d’accès et d’utilisation à tout patrimoine culturel documenté qui circule sur une plateforme numérique extérieure aux communautés. Les étiquettes ST favorisent l’adoption d’une stratégie pédagogique et informative envers les utilisateurs non membres des communautés d’origine de ce patrimoine culturel. Elles permettent à ces utilisateurs de mieux comprendre l’importance et la portée de ce patrimoine culturel qui demeure signifiant pour les communautés d’origine. L’étiquetage ST a été conçu pour identifier tout matériel soumis à des restrictions spécifiques à une communauté et pour en expliciter l’accès et l’utilisation. Ces restrictions s’appliquent plus particulièrement au matériel de nature sacrée ou cérémoniale, au matériel comportant des restrictions de nature genrée, à l’utilisation saisonnière ou au matériel conçu spécifiquement à des fins de sensibilisation. Les étiquettes ST peuvent également servir à ajouter de l’information « manquante », telle que le nom de la communauté qui est le créateur ou le gardien culturel du matériel ainsi que la façon de communiquer avec la famille, le clan ou la communauté concernée afin d’obtenir les permissions appropriées.

Cliquez sur une étiquette ST ci-dessous pour obtenir plus de renseignements sur son utilisation.


He taputapu ēnei, arā ko Ngā Tohu Mātauranga Taketake hei whakamahi mā ngā hapori tangata whenua ki te tāpiri ake i ā rātou tikanga whakauru, whakamahi hoki ki ā rātou taonga kua puritia kētia e rātou, e wātea kau ana aua taonga nei hei nanao atu mā te marea i runga ipurangi. He rautaki akoako ngā Tohu TK nei mā te hunga rāwaho, kia mārama ai ki a rātou te hiranga o ngā taonga e whai take tonu nei ki ana hapori, ki ana kaipupuri. Ko tā ngā Tohu TK, he whakamōhio i te hunga whakamahi, ko ēhea ngā taonga, he here ā-hapori e mau ana kia whai wāhi atu ki taua rawa. Inā rā, ka tau ēnei here ki ērā rawa mō ngā rawa tapu, ngā rawa whai here ā-tāne, ā-wahine rānei, ngā rawa here ā-kaupeka, ngā rawa hoki/rānei i hangaia ai hei whakamahi mō ngā kaupapa toro. Ka whakamahia hoki ngā Tohu nei hei tāpiri kōrero anō, tēnā i pōhēhētia kua ‘ngaro’ ētehi kōrero, kaupapa rānei mō tētahi taonga. Arā, ko te ingoa o te hapori, o ngā kaipupuri rānei, nāna taua taonga; ko ngā pārongo whakapā hoki a te whanau hapū, iwi, hapori rānei kia pai ai te tuku tono whakamahi. 

Click on a TK Label below to learn more about its usage.

Haz click en las Etiquetas de CT a continuación para aprender más acerca de su uso.

Provenance Labels

Provenance Labels identify the group or sub-group which is the primary cultural authority for the material, and/or recognizes other interest in the materials.

Permission Labels

Permission Labels indicate what activities the community has approved as generally acceptable. Other uses require direct engagement with primary cultural authorities.


The TK Labels offer an educative and informational strategy to help non-community users of this cultural heritage understand its significance to the communities from where it derives and continues to have meaning. TK Labels identify cultural material that has community-specific conditions regarding access and use. The TK Labels promote new standards of respect by embedding Indigenous rules and protocols within digital systems. 

How long does it take to develop TK Labels?

The community customization of the TK Labels is a collaborative process. How long it takes will depend on the scope of the project and how many TK Labels you’d like to develop. The Local Contexts Hub facilitates the process and allows for community vetting and authorizations.  


Using the TK Labels does not require permission. You will need to register on the Local Contexts Hub to customize the TK Labels and deliver them to institutional contexts or data repositories.  Reach out to the Local Contexts team to get the process started.


Yes. The TK and BC Labels were designed to be used separately and/or together. 

Listen to a community perspective on using the TK labels

James Francis, Sr. of the Penobscot Nation speaks about implementing the TK Labels in his community.

The Passamaquoddy Experience using the Labels at the Library of Congress – Donald Soctomah, Passamaquoddy Tribe.

Watch video here.


Yes. Additional resources on Copyright,  Intellectual Property Law, Agreements, Protocols and MOUs can be found at ENRICH. Here you will also find training modules on Collaborative Curation, Cultural Awareness, Indigenous Intellectual and Cultural Property, Indigenous Data Sovereignty, CARE Principles, TK & BC Labels and Notices and Agreement Making.