Reciprocal Curation Workflow

The act of labeling does disrupt the digital workflow, but for these types of collections this is a necessary moment that has substantial benefits for all stakeholders involved. From a community perspective it adds critical information about ongoing responsibilities to care for and protect culturally sensitive information, as well as to add Indigenous voice into the public historical record. For collecting institutions it opens up collections in new and dynamic ways. It greatly increases institutional capacity to respond to the specificity of Native/First Nations concerns. For some collections, this means making them usable in ways that were previously impossible because of incorrect information, cataloging or missing metadata. Connecting communities back to their cultural heritage collections initiates new dialogue and develops better understanding and trust – elements that will all have an impact upon the future possibilities for any collection.

For researchers and other users, having more information and ethical guidance about how a collection could and should be used fosters capacity for more informed decision-making. A social responsibility is also placed on a user to respect and act ethically in relation to these collections now that more information about them is available. In making the public record richer, different decisions about the future use of collections can be made by users. For instance if a film-maker is searching the Archives of Traditional Music catalog at Indiana University for a piece of music to accompany her film, she is less likely to use material that has been labeled as sensitive by the community itself, thus preventing the community from experiencing disrespectful use of their cultural heritage. If she finds a piece of music that has the attribution label, but is unclear about whether it can be used in a film, she is given information that allows her to directly engage with the community about its potential use. A new relationship, in real time outside the archive, can be established. The TK Labels function as helpful guidelines for the fair and equitable use of Native/First Nations cultural heritage and position ethical standards and sensibility as driving forces in establishing a new paradigm of rights, responsibility and control over these collections.