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close this bookRecording and Using Indigenous Knowledge: A Manual (IIRR, 1996, 211 p.)
close this folderPart 2 Recording and assessment methodologies
close this folderRecording methods
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View the documentSources and documentation of IK

Sources and documentation of IK


The following IK sources should be considered:

- Community members, especially elders, are the best sources of IK. But, since IK is unevenly distributed in communities, it is important to find out who knows what in order to tap the right sources. Otherwise, data will not truly reflect IK in the community. For example, asking men about garden plants when women are in charge of home gardens, (might lead you to conclude that villagers know little about gardening (see also Who knows what?).

- Folklore, songs,, poetry, and theater can reveal a great deal about a people's values, history, and practices. These are often not written down and need to be recorded.

- Community records—Although IK is mostly transmitted by word of mouth, some indigenous forms of record keeping exist. These include writings, paintings, and carvings. Records can also consist of trees planted as boundaries, notched poles, bones, and many other forms.

- People working with communities, such as extensionists, can be valuable sources of IK.

- Secondary sources include published and unpublished documents, databases, videos, photos, museums, and exhibits.

Documentation: compilation and storage

IK can be documented in the form of:

- Descriptive texts such as reports

- Taxonomies

- Inventories (For example, lists of plant species, tables listing remedies and their preparations, etc.)

- Seasonal pattern charts

- Maps

- Matrices

- Others

- Decision trees

- Audiovisuals such as photos films, videos, or audio cassettes

- Dramas, stories, songs, etc.

- Drawings

- Daily calendars

IK can be stored in:

- Local communities
- Databases
- Card catalogs
- Books, journals, and other written documents
- Audiovisuals
- Museums
- Others

Strengths or strategic advantages of methods suitable for the recording of IK