Posted to the Ethnos Project by on February 27th, 2011

Visit Mukurtu’s website:

Kimberly Christen, Mukurtu’s Project Director, appeared on the BBC’s Digital Planet radio show on February 22 discussing the Mukurtu project, the ethics of open access and the need to take seriously indigenous peoples’ concerns when designing digital tools…

Listen here >>

Mukurtu’s History

The Mukurtu project began in the remote Central Australian town of Tennant Creek with the creation of the Mukurtu Wumpurrarni-kari Archive. The project was born from the needs of the Warumungu Aboriginal community who wanted a system to archive and organize their digital cultural materials in line with their cultural protocols. We collaborated to develop a user-friendly and culturally relevant system embedded with Warumungu social and cultural protocols.

The word “mukurtu” in Warumungu means “dilly bag.” Dilly bags hold sacred items and are accessible by acting responsibly within the community and gaining the permission of knowledgeable community leaders. Like the dilly bag the archive is a “safe keeping place,” a community repository for cultural materials and knowledge. The Warumungu community maintains the archive at the Nynikka Nyunyu Art and Culture Centre where people access their materials, deposit new content, add knowledge and information to existing content, and create new materials.

Mukurtu (MOOK-oo-too)

1. A free and open source community archive platform that provides international standards-based content management tools adaptable to the local cultural protocols and intellectual property systems of indigenous communities, libraries, archives, and museums.

2. A flexible and robust archival platform that creates an interface between source communities and collecting institutions facilitating the exchange and circulation of collections materials, metadata, and indigenous knowledge.

Mukurtu In Action

The Mukurtu Wumpurrarini-kari archive is the alpha version of the Mukurtu software tool. This video takes you through our initial toolkit and its functionality catered to the specific needs of the Warumungu Aboriginal community. Visit the online demo. This demonstration version is fully functional: you may browse the existing archive, add content, or even create a new user with a specific user profile.


Mukurtu 1.0 Production Release coming in Spring 2011


  • Full service content management system. Can be run on a production server, or hosted service, and locally on a laptop for offline and field access.
  • Collaborative environment with preconfigured, easy to use themes and templates.
  • Powered by Drupal 6.19, the open source platform adopted by 228 countries worldwide.


  • One click install. Install and be up and running in under 10 minutes.
  • Three environments automatically configured – Production, Staging/Test, Development – provides easy and safe development capabilities for extending the Mukurtu platform to fit specific requirements.
  • Easily updated to regularly released builds with new features, bug fixes and optimizations.


  • Cultural Protocols linked to content (items, collections) providing granular access levels to content in the archive.
  • Powerful users, groups, and roles management. Use preconfigured compositions (library, museum, tribe) or easily modify to suit your needs.
  • Batch import media. Add pictures, movies, PDFs, Office documents and associated metadata in bulk.
  • Module Manager. Enable or disable a variety of frontend features and backend functions, such as geotagging and mapping, image previews, and advanced user administration.
  • Total Control Admin Dashboard. Get a birds-eye view of all of your content. Add stories and users, track comments and tags, manage terms and vocabularies.
  • Backup locally and offsite, automatically.

All information in this post is from Mukurtu’s website here:

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