This article examines the design of digital indigenous knowledge archives. In a discussion of the distinction between indigenous knowledge and western science, a decentred perspective is developed, in which the relationship between different local knowledges is explored. The particular characteristics of indigenous knowledges raise questions about if and how these knowledges can be managed. The role of technology in managing indigenous knowledges is explored with examples from fieldwork in India and Kenya and from web-based databases and digital archives. The concept of contact zone is introduced to explore the space in which different knowledges meet and are performed, such as indigenous knowledge and the technoscientific knowledge of the database. Design for the contact zone, this article proposes, is an intra-active and adaptive process for creating databases that are meaningful for indigenous knowers. The meta-design approach is introduced as a methodology, which may provide indigenous knowers tools for self-representation and self-organisation through design.
In: F. Sudweeks, H. Hrachovec, and Ess, C.(eds): 2010, Cultural Attitudes Towards technology and Communication 2010, Proceedings of the Seventh International Conference on Cultural Attitudes Towards Technology and Communication, Vancouver, Canada. Murdoch University, Murdoch (Australia).