The interface between indigenous knowledge and libraries: The need for non-Māori librarians to make sense of mātauranga Māori in their professional lives

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Information Research
Introduction. This paper outlines the context of research in progress, investigating how non-indigenous librarians in Aotearoa New Zealand make sense of indigenous knowledge in their professional lives. It presents evidence of developments in the information and library environments which make it imperative that non-Māori librarians engage appropriately with mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge). Method. An analysis of recent developments driving or inhibiting engagement with mātauranga Māori is presented alongside a review and synthesis of previous work relevant to the topic. Results. The analysis suggests that there are a number of specific issues at the interface between indigenous knowledge and libraries which make it a particularly pressing issue for libraries and librarians both in Aotearoa New Zealand and internationally. Recent developments in the field including those around appropriate metadata and ownership protocols suggest that it is an area of growing importance in the profession. The issues identified and discussed in this paper form the contextual background for an interview-based study, currently in progress, incorporating elements of Dervin’s sense-making methodology. Conclusion. The many ways that librarians may encounter indigenous knowledge, and the national and international interest in the topic, highlight the issue of non-indigenous librarians’ engagement with indigenous knowledge as an important one for research.
Library and Information Management Research, Mātauranga Māori and Libraries, Biculturalism and New Zealand Librarians, Indigenous knowledge and Libraries
Information Research: an international electronic journal, 2017, 22 (4)