Libraries and Indigenous Knowledge: A National Forum for Libraries, Archives and Information Services

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This book is an outcome of the Libraries and Indigenous Knowledge Colloquium held at the State Library of New South Wales in December 2004. The editors have taken advantage of the opportunity provided by the substance and scope of the papers presented at the Colloquium, and the degree of professional interest in the issues associated with Indigenous Knowledge in libraries and archives, to put together an edited collection that is accessible to a wider audience. If it is possible to guide the way readers respond to this collection, then perhaps the first thing the authors would like readers to take away would be an appreciation and understanding of the complexities that professionals must engage with in meeting the needs of Indigenous people and the issues associated with managing Indigenous knowledge. From the Indigenous perspective, we can well understand the profession’s desire to have clear prescriptions for practice and practical assistance. However, the path to developing clear and high standards of practice in this area rests on building a strong foundation for understanding what informs the concerns of Indigenous people about the intersection of our knowledge and cultural materials with library and archival systems and practice. This requires a broad sweep across issues of knowledge, culture, history, heritage, law, and information technologies. It requires consideration of articulations between the local/global, the Indigenous/Western, and traditional/contemporary dualities. Most importantly, it requires professional understanding at a level deep enough to generate problem-solving and innovations to practice to overcome the manifold tensions that emerge across all these in a diverse range of situations.
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