DOI: 10.1177/03400352231217270 ISSN: 0340-0352

Librarians’ role in the preservation and dissemination of indigenous knowledge

Josiline Chigwada, Patrick Ngulube
  • Library and Information Sciences

In the era of digital innovation, the preservation of indigenous knowledge stands at a compelling intersection of heritage and technology. Librarians play a crucial role in navigating the complexities of technology while respecting cultural protocols. Through a comprehensive exploration of librarian practices, this study sought to unpack how indigenous knowledge can be ethically preserved in the digital landscape. A qualitative study was conducted with 20 librarians in Zimbabwe, who were purposively selected. Interviews and observation were used to collect data, which was analysed using thematic content analysis. The findings reveal that libraries preserved indigenous knowledge in the form of poetry, folklore, drama and artefacts; demonstrated traditional dances; and sometimes recorded live sessions and special collections. The major challenges being faced were the ethical issues in documenting indigenous knowledge. It is recommended that librarians actively work with indigenous communities in indigenous knowledge projects to avoid resistance from knowledge holders.

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