Overcoming Cultural Challenges
The software was developed in response to the specific cultural needs of Anangu. The innovative software protects and/or restricts access to private and sensitive materials, such as images of people who have passed away. Additional separate archives house materials that are restricted to men or to women. Where possible, Anangu languages such as Ngaanyatjarra, Pitjantjatjara or Yankunytjatjara are used in place of or in addition to English. Our culturally-sensitive design and eye-catching interface is at the forefront of its field. Our archive is able to fully integrate diverse materials and mixed-media records.
Building the Archive Software
The original Ara Irititja software development was commenced as a Local Area Network (LAN) based system in 1995 by the late Greg Fidock. Martin Hughes, a FileMaker Pro specialist, took charge of the software development in 1997 and refined it in many stages after that.
In 2007, our software team completed a working draft of a revised archive using a browser-based platform and our designer, Douglas Mann has created a smart refreshing interface. This became fully functional in 2011 and continues to expand its use as an educational, community-centred facility.
The current browser-based Knowledge Management System, now known as Keeping Culture KMS, enables a highly creative approach to the delivery of the rich multimedia material into the formal and informal educational systems. New features, based on the project team’s experience and community feedback, are designed to further draw together family groups to actively participate in the creation of their own historical resource.
Also, moving to a standards-based platform makes it possible for Ara Irititja to be utilised more easily on the banks of networked computers in school libraries and resource centres. For the first time, teachers can choose to have total classroom access to the Ara Irititja archive in the schools, TAFE and tertiary education network systems.
In 2017 Keeping Culture KMS was rewritten into html format and in 2018 genealogy functionality is being developed. There is a great deal of interest in its increased functionality and features.