About Mukurtu CMS
Mukurtu (MOOK-oo-too) is a free, mobile, and open source platform built with Indigenous communities to manage and share digital cultural heritage. It’s a grassroots project aiming to empower communities to manage, share, and exchange their digital heritage in culturally relevant and ethically-minded ways. Mukurtu is committed to maintaining an open, community-driven approach to Mukurtu’s continued development.
The Content Managent System (CMS) Mukurtu – based in Washington State University (USA) – was developed from a long collaboration between Dr Kimberly Christen and the Warumungu community in Tennent’s Creek (NT, Australia). Mukurtu is a Warumungu word meaning ‘dilly bag’ or a safe keeping place for sacred materials. Warumungu elder, Michael Jampin Jones chose Mukurtu as the name for the community archive to remind users that the archive, too, is a safe keeping place where Warumungu people can share stories, knowledge, and cultural materials properly using their own protocols. Growing from this community need, Mukurtu CMS is now an open source platform flexible enough to meet the needs of diverse communities who want to manage and share their digital cultural heritage in their own way, on their own terms.
Some key features in Mukurtu include:
- Cultural Protocols (Protocols allow you to determine fine-grained levels of access to your digital heritage materials based on your community needs and values);
- Community Records (Community records provide space for multiple cultural narratives, traditional knowledge, and diverse sets of protocols ensuring that you can tell your stories and your history, your way);
- Traditional Knowledge Labels (TK Labels allow Indigenous communities to label third party owned or public domain materials with added information about access, use, circulation and attribution);
- Roundtrip (Mukurtu CMS Roundtrip feature allows for media and data collections to be brought into Mukurtu and exported again without risk of losing meaning or protocols).
Mukurtu is distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (or "GPL"), which means anyone is free to download it and share it with others. This open development model means that people are constantly working to make sure Mukurtu is a cutting-edge platform that supports the unique needs of Indigenous and First Nations libraries, archives and museums as they seek to preserve and share their digital heritage. Mukurtu encourages collaboration and innovation as we seek to offer respectful and responsible models for content management.
More information on the story, development and functionalities of Mukurtu CMS is available on Mukurtu.org.
Mukurtu support for communities
Mukurtu is not only a digital platform, but an international network of support for Indigenous communities who want to manage and share their cultural heritage on their own terms. The Mukurtu community includes Indigenous, Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islanders and First Nations groups around the world.
The NSW Australian Mukurtu Hub is a participating Hub in the Mukurtu Hubs & Spokes project, led by the Center for Digital Scholarship and Curation at Washington State University. This model aims to support regional centers (the Hubs) to provide guidance and training to communities who wish to gain more insights into digitally manage their local collections on country, and gather feedback on use and requirements for further development of the Mukurtu CMS. This feedback is provided to Washington State University who works to update and improve the software, to ensure it always responds to communities needs and aspirations.
In the last ten years, the conversations around digital access in NSW have focused on the choice of multiple digital systems that can be used to support local digital keeping places. While this is an important choice, Aboriginal peoples, communities and organisations have pointed out that, before choosing the right digital platform, there is a big gap in terms of curation, digital preservation and skills transfer.
To fill this gap, the NSW Australian Mukurtu Hub was created to support communities who want to manage, preserve and share their own cultural heritage on country, and get advice on how to make their information accessible with appropriate cultural protocols. This support include training, digitisation of collections onsite and support for hosting.