Thursday, February 7, 2008

Last Call: Indigenous Portal Regional Editors

Indigenous Portal Regional Editors

The Indigenous ICT Task Force (IITF) is seeking to hire eight regional Indigenous web editors to work on the Indigenous Portal website. This is a part-time paid position with opportunity for a longer period.


The IITF was created during the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis in 2005 by Indigenous representatives who want to implement the Plan of Action of that process.

The IITF is a non-profit organization of Indigenous individuals who are involved in the Information Society. They include educators, editors, website managers, community activists and others who have an interest is closing the digital divide between Indigenous Peoples and the rest of the world.

The IITF has created a portal at with one general site and regional sub-sites in eight regions of the world: North America, South America, Central American and the Caribbean, Artic, Africa, Asia, Pacific and Russia.

These regional sites will run the language most suitable to the Indigenous Peoples in their region.
The initial plan is to have one Indigenous Portal Project Manager to create and oversee the development of the portal and regional managers to maintain the portal for their particular region.

The project is funded through Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), initially facilitated by INCOMINDIOS, a Swiss based NGO and carried by the IITF. The project is at the moment co-managed and the entire management will gradually be passed to the Permanent Portal Board consisting of Indigenous representatives from eight regions of the world and the IITF as the carrying organisation. By the end of the project the Permanent Board and the IITF will be the sole entities managing and carrying the project.

This project is very dynamic and challenging and will require an Indigenous person with the skills and experience to meet this demanding opportunity.

The position as a Indigenous Portal Regional Editor is perfect for a dynamic, insightful, well-organized, detail-oriented individual or ORGANIZATION with a passion for information and communication technologies and international development. The ideal candidate is a strong writer and communicator, technology savvy and able to share the vision of the project. She/he is also an effective planner and able to contribute to the overall strategic development and implementation of this exciting project. This person is someone who is goal-oriented and able to work well both independently and collaboratively.

Job Description

- Regularly gathering and uploading fresh, accurate and reliable content, such as news, in the region of responsibility
- Finding and updating new resources of information for the website
- Ensuring that the designated language(s) content will be provided

- Researching, collecting and requesting content added to site
- Working with the Indigenous Portal Project Manager to update featured topic every few weeks

Tech Support on Site Usage
- Working with technical team to co-ordinate site maintenance

Community Outreach
- Acting as a contact for their language community
- Creating excitement about the website and the community
- Facilitating, supporting and growing the online community
- Find ways in which the site may be improved to better support community projects.

- Undertake ongoing research, reporting and recommendation development with the support of other team members
- Write progress reports every three months

Qualifications that are an asset but not obligatory
• Knowledge of issues around telecentres and community-building technology.
• Understanding and use of communications technologies including blogs and content management systems.
• Understanding of internet culture and enjoy spending time online
• Ability to network with people
• Strong written and oral communications skills, with an enthusiasm for sharing ideas and an ability to translate them into actions. Fluency in a relevant language (English/ Spanish/French). Multiple languages are an asset.
• Work experience in the non-profit and/or technology sector (ideally with a focus on Information and Communication Technologies for Development).
• Travel experience in developing countries with an understanding of internet access issues and the objectives and challenges of telecentres an asset.
• Experience with the media.
• Creative thinker and problem-solver.
• Ability to manage multiple shifting priorities and large amounts of information.
• Ability to work in multicultural and "skill-diverse" teams
• Strong knowledge of international issues, human rights and development, with a particular focus in information and communications technologies.

Application Process:

Electronically submit a cover letter expressing your interest in this position, your curriculum vitae (CV), and a listing of two references to:

The Indigenous Portal Board Members

An email confirming the receipt of your application will be sent to you upon receiving all documents.

Deadline for application- February 28, 2008
Position starts: ~ 2008 (tba)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Aboriginal archive offers new DRM

A new method of digital rights management (DRM) which relies on a user's profile has been pioneered by Aboriginal Australians.

The Mukurtu Wumpurrarni-kari Archive has been developed by a community based in Australia's Northern Territory.

It asks every person who logs in for their name, age, sex and standing within their community.

This information then restricts what they can search for in the archive, offering a new take on DRM

Dr Kimberly Christen, who helped to develop the archive, told BBC World Service's Digital Planet programme that the need to create these profiles came from community traditions over what can and cannot be seen.

"It grew out of the Warumungu community people themselves, who were really interested in repatriating a lot of images and things that had been taken from the community," she said.

"You find this a lot in indigenous communities, not just in Australia but around the world... this really big push in these communities to get this information back and let people start looking at it and narrating it themselves."

Where to look

Dr Christen, who is an assistant professor based at Washington State University, stumbled across the idea of the archive by chance after meeting a group of missionaries who had digitally archived photos of the Warumungu community since the 1930s.

After loading them onto her laptop, she took them back to Tennant Creek and set up a slideshow - where she noticed that people turned away when certain images came up on screen.

For example, men cannot view women's rituals, and people from one community cannot view material from another without first seeking permission. Meanwhile images of the deceased cannot be viewed by their families.

Offline website

"The way people were looking at the photos was embedded in the social system that already existed in the community," she said.

"People would come in and out of the area of the screen to look when they could look."

This threw up issues surrounding how the material could be archived, as it was not only about preserving the information into a database in a traditional sense, but also how people would access it depending on their gender, their relationship to other people and where they were situated.

Dr Christen and her team of software developers came up with what is described as "a website that's not online", containing photos, digital video clips, audio files, digital reproductions of cultural artefacts and documents.

The system has also been designed with a "two-click mantra" in mind, making the content easy to access for those with low computer literacy skills.

Images are arranged in their own categories, with content tagged with restrictions.

The project believes it has established a cultural solution as well as an opportunity for Aboriginals to collate much of what was once lost. The hope of the project's designers is that as culture and traditions change, history can be rewritten and changed by people themselves.

Source: BBC