A framework for cultural heritage digital libraries in the developing world

Heather Lea Moulaison
2010
The purpose of this study is to investigate the role that Digital Libraries (DLs) can play in the transmission of information for non-literate people in the developing world. People from oral cultures are well-positioned to exploit DLs as a way of accessing audio-visual (A/V) documents if the DL is properly adapted. Cultural heritage documents created by researchers during fieldwork may be audio, video, or images that can be sources of national pride for non-literate citizens; these documents
more » ... ; these documents could be stored in a cultural heritage DL (CHDL) for online access by non-literate citizens. The primary methodology employed in this study is a review of relevant literature. National culture and universal usability contribute to cultural usability, the human aspects of DL use being explored. Machine aspects of DLs are investigated within the Library and Information Science (LIS) framework, with an emphasis on theories of organization of information and information retrieval, and a complementary discussion of the read/write Web. The concept of DL interface as intermediary between humans and machines is explored in the context of the developing world. Supplementary methodologies for approaching the problem of access for non-literate users in the developing world include ethnographically-based reflections on daily life, opportunistic conversations with colleagues in Morocco during a 10-month Fulbright teaching grant, and a content analysis of Moroccan Web sites. The resulting framework considers the differences between Western and non-Western cultures in terms of system structure and interface design in light of the "mental programming" of non-literate users. Contributions of this study include recommendations for ways to meet needs of non-literate citizens, with an emphasis on the role of the community instead of the individual. This study recommends that each national culture be studied in order for a successful CHDL to be created. It also outlines a paradigm shift in library services in the developing world to consider the [...]
doi:10.7282/t3s75ggm fatcat:remfckhljjea7cfhdohfqfkxfq