Traditional knowledge labels FAQ

What are Traditional Knowledge (TK) Labels?

TK Labels are a set of digital tags offered through the Local Contexts initiative.The labels are meant to be used by Indigenous communities to provide additional information about digital cultural heritage materials that are in the public domain or owned by third parties (museums, archives, libraries, scholars, etc). This may be missing information about culturally and community specific protocols about access, circulation, and use of Indigenous digital heritage. The TK Labels are cultural and social guides for action that help non-Indigenous people better understand and respect different cultural perspectives and concerns about the correct and appropriate ways of listening, viewing, and using traditional knowledge.

What does using the TK Labels do?

Labeling helps correct historical mistakes, adds missing information in the form of cultural protocols for access and use, and provides local knowledge about digital cultural heritage materials. Labeling helps inform different publics about the correct ways to use, attribute, access and circulate digital heritage materials. The TK Labels also make it clear that Indigenous communities are stewards of these materials, regardless of Western legal structures.

Are the TK Labels legally binding?

No. The TK Labels are not legally binding (like copyright or Creative Commons licenses). TK Labels are educational tags, they do not change already existing copyright and they do not change the legal ownership of a collection or digital item. The TK Labels re-position legal ownership alongside already existing cultural protocols for access and use. As a result, the TK Labels create new norms that recognize the existence and the legitimacy of cultural protocols in regards to the management, access, and control of valuable cultural resources, especially those in the public domain.

Who can use the TK Labels?

The TK Labels have been designed to be used by Indigenous communities who want to make non-Indigenous people aware of the local and traditional guidelines and cultural protocols for the sharing of their digital cultural heritage. The TK Labels also can be used by collecting and cultural institutions, but only in collaboration with an Indigenous community, to bring Indigenous perspectives into collections management, curation, and display.

Do we need to own material that we want to label?

No. The TK Labels can be added to any public domain or third party owned digital cultural heritage material including images, moving images, sound files, and digital manuscripts.

Can we customize the TK Labels according to our community needs?

Yes. You can customize the TK Label text (see below for How to customize).

How are TK Labels displayed in Mukurtu CMS?

Each Digital Heritage Item can display up to four TK Labels. The labels display in the metadata sidebar on the right side of the Digital Heritage Item. When a user hovers over a TK Label, the title and description display in a pop-up window.

How are TK Labels customized in Mukurtu CMS?

The TK Labels can either be customized at a site-wide or community-specific level. This customization is done through the Mukurtu CMS user interface, no additional technical skills are required.

TK Labels can be customized to display a localized version of the TK Label title and description in any language. Within Mukurtu CMS, audio or other media can also be included as part of your label display. The visual representation of the label icon itself cannot be modified.

Where can we learn more about TK Labels?

Learn more about the TK Labels at

To learn more about how to customize TK Labels in Mukurtu CMS, contact, or read more support articles on


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