Mukurtu Wumpurrarni-kari Archive

The original Mukurtu archive built from the ground up in 2007 as a stand alone, browser-based community digital archive for the Warumungu community embedding community protocols around the viewing, circulation, and creation of cultural material and knowledge directly into the archival platform. The Mukurtu Wumpurrarni-kari Archive became the catalyst for the production of the Mukurtu CMS open source platform.

Mukurtu is that dilly bag. The way that Warumungu people use it, they used to have them old dilly bags. In them early days, old people keep their stuff in that bag and no one else was allowed to open it up or even to look to it. Now we have this archive, it’s good. In every archive that you go to there’s a lot of stuff that’s in a safe place, in South Australia, Queensland. But this archive will be different, it will be here, it will be the safe place for man like me I can’t see women’s stories or even if she is my daughter or niece I’m not allowed to see, so it won’t open up for me, because we have different passwords. That is very important to make it safe.

Michael Jampin Jones

The Challenge

To create a community-based digital archive that was browser-based but ran completely offline and integrated community viewing and sharing protocols into content management at every level. The archive was initially created from hundreds of digitized photos returned to the community from missionaries who had worked in Tennant Creek for more than four decades. The challenge was to describe, annotate, and relate these materials to individual community members as well as their families and provide an easy to use interface for varied users.

The Solution

A custom digital archive built using MySQL database and PHP scripting language on a Web server. Key features include:

  • Individual profile based content delivery system.
  • Cultural protocol based access management and collections tags.
  • User-generated content groupings for individual items.
  • Burn a CD directly from the browser, linked to MyCollections.
  • One click print from display page.
  • Single and batch upload.