Digital Tribes project aims to compile digital indexes for each tribe from existing digital resources in various disciplines. After the decade-long Digital Archives program by National Science Council ends, all digital data goes public. Although rich in essence, digital archives remains a new format, which requires digital literacy. Starting with database in NTU, the Center establishes tribe-oriented digital indexes, including anthropology and biology. Data formats include images, utensils/specimens, literature and contemporary researches.
Besides gathering digital data and building up catalogs, Digital Tribes project has several features in practice:
Contexts: We adds contexts back to digital data knowledge production to describe photo-taking or specimen purchase perspectives for academic researches and lesson plans. Also, due to language gaps, researchers and teaching activities often rely on public servants for liaison, introduction and interpretation. These mediators are usually sources of digital data.
Contemporaneity: Digital archives in ethnology tend to be historical. To avoid misunderstandings that tribes only exist in the past or remain static, digital catalogs also offer recent coverage to connect past and present. The catalog will include seven kinds of digital contents, including ancient photos, ethnologic specimens, folk songs, rituals, research materials, creative literature and artworks. Source databases include NTU Anthropological Collection Information System & Ethnologic Specimen Database, Taiwan Aborigine Digital Archive by Institute of Ethnology (Academia Sinica), Taiwan Ethnography Video and Audio Archive, The Digital Music Archive Project for Taiwanese Indigenous People, National Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations in Taiwan, Taiwanese Indigenous Literature Digital Archive, as well as Formosa Aboriginal Song and Dance Troupe: Taiwan Indigenous Culture Performance Audio Digital Archives.
Interactivity: As this project also aims to eliminate digital divide, empower tribes and offer educational contents, it continues to enhance interactivity in digital catalogs, before handing over to tribes for final edits. The Center will compile digital catalogs, upload to online space, consult tribes, and open up for tribesmen for browsing, usage and modifications.
Tribal Autonomy: With over 700 indigenous tribes, the Center also develops a user-friendly manual in paper and DVD formats to introduce potentials in digital data. It also establish practical procedures for tribal catalogs. We also connect with college indigenous student clubs in northern Taiwan and other tribal schools, and demonstrate search feature and other possible usages of digital data.
Digital Tribes webpages: http://www.cis.ntu.edu.tw/blog/category/digitaltribe/ (in Chinese)