How to Find Resources in the POSOH Digital Library

POSOH Digital Library

All resources created by the POSOH Project or used to create the POSOH Project are available to view without a login; however, in order to add a comment to a resource, the user needs to have a login and password.

To become an authenticated user, click on the “Log In” tab. Then click on “Create new account”. Fill out your information – “Group membership” is not necessary – and click on the “Create new account” button. The site administrator will review your request within 48 hours.

Options for Browsing & Searching the POSOH Digital Library

Browse by Collection

To browse by Collection, either click on the “Browse Collections” tab and choose a collection, or click on the “Search & Browse Library” tab and then choose a collection from the right hand column under the “Collection” section. Once a collection is chosen, all items that are a part of the collection will show on the left side of your screen. From here, you can browse through the items and choose which one(s) you would like to see closer by clicking on the title of the item. If this is done from the “Search & Browse Library” tab, you can winnow your browsing down further by choosing a Community, Category, Subject, and/or Resource Type.

The “Additional Act 31 Resources” Collection items contain links to a full record for the item found on Each item also gives the ISBN if there is one for that item, so that you can look the item up on your local library website and check out the physical copy if it is available. These are resources that were used in the POSOH Project to create curricula, but were not created by the POSOH Project, so we are not able to display the entire resource in all cases.

Search & Browse Library

To search and browse the entire digital library, click on the “Search & Browse Library” tab. On this page, you will see the full list of items found in the digital library on the left side of the page. You can scan through this list and look closer at an item by clicking on the title of the item. As more resources are added to the digital library, this option will become more time consuming, so there are two other ways to find a resource.

You can use the search bar on the right side of the screen. This search bar will search title and keyword. At this time, the items you will find using this option are slightly limited. Using the checklists below the search bar might be a better option if you are having difficulty finding items using the search bar.

As explained in the “Browse by Collection” section, the right side of the “Search & Browse Library” page contains lists that you can choose from in order to find a resource. The options here are Collection, Community, Category, Subject, and Resource Type. You can choose options from more than one list and more than one option within each list. When you choose an option within a list, the list will narrow to show you what options are available within the option you have chosen. For instance, if you choose the “POSOH Instructional Aids” option under the “Category” list, the options under each list narrow. If you then check the “Agriculture” box under “Subject”, there will be one item listed on the left side of the screen.

If you would like to start a fresh search, click “Reset” under the search bar on the right side of the screen.

POSOH Digital Library Workshop

From June 22-24, 2015, we held a gathering at Science House in Madison to discuss the best way to proceed with cataloging POSOH resources and also to catalogue a number of the resources in the POSOH Digital Library.

Only half of us have had experience with Mukurtu prior to this meeting, so I presented on Mukurtu 2.0 the first day, explaining the structure of Mukurtu and possibilities for entering information about the resources (or as they are called in Mukurtu, digital heritage items). As a group, we then discussed the best way to proceed. We decided which information might be useful to education professionals so that  the digital heritage items would be easily retrievable. It was quite an in depth conversation, but by the end of the first day, we had a plan for action. Before ending for the day, we catalogued a digital heritage item as a group so everyone could see the process within the Mukurtu platform.

During part of the first day, Hedi and I also worked on changing certain parts of the Drupal side of the POSOH Digital Library. Mukurtu 2.0 is built on a foundation of Drupal. We are still having some difficulty with some aspects  of the Drupal side of the digital library, but we were able to get a couple of issues fixed that first day.

The second and third day were spent adding digital heritage items to the POSOH Digital Library. There was discussion throughout when issues came up or when there was a question as to what items went together or with an aspect of Mukurtu 2.0.

This was an incredible learning experience for everyone involved. I think we all learned that cataloging resources takes time and thought. There are many aspects to think about, especially when there are many resources related to one another and with similar subject matter. Many decisions had to be made about vocabulary to be used and rights statements, among others.

We also had fun meeting up to work outside of the office in the evenings. I hope the workshop was as rewarding for everyone else as it was for me.


Mukurtu 2.0 is Here!

It’s official! We have Mukurtu 2.0 installed and we are working on adding content. Our goal is to have it open to educators and other interested parties by the end of June.

There was a bit of a struggle at first because we were missing search and browse functions. We spent a few days trying to figure this out on our end, but then contacted Kelley with CoDA (Center for Digital Archaeology). She sent us some technical information that was tremendously helpful in figuring out the missing pieces, and now it feels as though we have the outside border of the puzzle complete. Now I am beginning the work on the inside pieces.

I’ve started adding content in order to test out the parameters of Mukurtu 2.0. There are a few new functions that are wonderful! There is a new level of organization in the Collections option. We are now able to not only organize digital heritage items within communities, but also within collections. This is a feature I was missing in the other version and I am very thankful that it is part of the new version.

Mukurtu 2.0 runs on a foundation of Drupal, which is a content management system. I had not worked with Drupal other than working with the other version of Mukurtu. With that version, most of the background stuff such as menus and structure were set up already, so I didn’t have a reason to dig into those areas. With the new version, however, I have gotten down to the closest thing to bare bones without digging into the actual code of the website.

The last two days have been many things – inspirational, enlightening, and downright fun! It’s a great pleasure to learn, especially when the fear of breaking things starts to fade away!


Mukurtu Workshop April 14, 2015

On Tuesday, April 14, I led a Mukurtu workshop in the SLIS (School of Library and Information Studies) Computer Lab. This was my first time leading a workshop, and although the audience included just a handful of people, it was a great group and we were able to have a comfortable, in-depth conversation about Mukurtu.

I started the workshop by giving a small presentation (PowerPoint attached below) on the POSOH Project , the origins of Mukurtu, and the future of the POSOH Digital Library. We then walked through some aspects of Mukurtu together, created a Community together, created a Cultural Protocol together, and then each of us attempted to create a digital heritage item.

I made the mistake of  using TIFFs rather than JPEGs for the digital heritage items I had planned for participants to use during the workshop. The files were too large and the system got clogged up, causing difficulty with the hands on portion. I was the only one who was able to upload my picture in a reasonable amount of time (less than five minutes). We ended up going through the process together with me in the driver’s seat. This hiccup didn’t affect the results of the workshop. We all ended up having a great discussion about the different aspects of Mukurtu. It was a truly rewarding experience.

Things I learned from this experience:

  • Use JPEGs rather than TIFFs for workshop images to be used to create digital heritage item
  • Practice uploading items to the SLIS computers beforehand
  • Go through the workshop a couple of times beforehand, practice, practice, practice
  • Bring handouts

There are always improvements to be made and I look forward to adjusting the workshop for the next time. I am hoping to have another workshop at the end of May 2015 in order to showcase the newest version of Mukurtu, Mukurtu 2.0. Stay tuned for more information!

Here is the PowerPoint from the workshop: POSOH Digital Library Presentation – Workshop copy

Please contact me with any questions:

A New Year Begins

As the new year commences, I am readying myself for the spring semester. Having acquired new skills during last semester’s courses, I am putting them to use by creating a manual for metadata creation for the POSOH Digital Library. I am also beginning plans for upcoming conferences: organizing thoughts and information to be included in a poster and PowerPoint presentation. I am looking forward to a new webinar series to start this month that will enhance our working knowledge of Mukurtu by presenting us with opportunities for deeper interaction with it.

I would also like to acknowledge that as the POSOH and TLAM groups come together once again, congratulations are in order to those who have moved on from the University of Wisconsin – Madison: Justin Gauthier and Lotus Norton-Wisla. Justin graduated with his B.A. in December and will be continuing work with the POSOH Project this summer and Lotus has been hired to work with the Mukurtu group at Washington State University. Congratulations to you both!


Mukurtu Site Building

A couple of weeks ago, Omar, Lotus, and I attended the Mukurtu Site Building webinar to learn some of the background aspects of the current version of Mukurtu. The webinar was two hours, but it felt like it could have been a day long workshop. Kelley Shanahan led us on a tour of Mukurtu’s backstage, showing us secret passageways and hidden windows into it. We were intrigued. There is so much that can be done with it as it is, we are shivering with anticipation to get a look at the newer version coming out in the beginning of next year! For now, I’ll talk a little bit about what the current version is able to do.

One of the main aspects we focused in on was the ability to do a batch upload. This allows digital heritage items to be uploaded to the Mukurtu site as large groups, rather than adding each one individually. It is, in the long run, a great time saver. The basic process is to have a group of media items, such as pictures, with simply formatted file names, which are then uploaded onto the site. If you are starting from scratch, you might upload also your chosen categories, cultural protocols, and communities as a second step. However, if you have these in place on your site, you can move on to step three, which is to produce a CSV (Comma Separated Values). This is a spreadsheet, produced on Google Docs, that is filled out with information regarding the media that has been uploaded, information (metadata) such as, title, creator, contributors, cultural narrative, etc. Once this is filled out as completely as possible, it can be uploaded and the process is complete. The media and the information from the CSV connect to create digital heritage items on your site.

We attempted to work out this process after the webinar for a couple of hours, but we were having some issues with getting the media to connect to the CSV. After two hours, we had to stop due to other commitments, but Omar was able to get it to work later that day when he realized that the spreadsheet had to be made on Google docs and not on Excel. It is amazing how one small detail can halt the process! That is technology, though. It is great when you have all of the pieces in place and everything connects! A big thanks to Omar for sticking to it and figuring it out!

Mukurtu 2.0

On October 22, 2014, I attended a webinar in the current Mukurtu webinar series hosted by CoDA (Center of Digital Archaeology). The special guests were members of Kanopi Studios, who are working to bring Mukurtu to the next level of content management systems. During the webinar, we were introduced to upcoming features of Mukurtu, including additional features regarding digital heritage items, such as being able to click and drag an  item into the system. Another new feature has to do with what they call an “asset”. This is a foundational item that is then added to one or more digital heritage items. With this feature, the user is able to then make changes to the asset and all digital heritage items associated with that particular asset will automatically adjust to the change(s) made to the asset. Other new features include the ability to add audio and video files. Previously, these were only able to be added via the Mukurtu site, having been recorded directly from the site. One other feature that was talked about is small but substantial. Currently, when a user has limited access, they are still able to see all of the options available to a user with a higher level of access to changes on the site. If the user with a lower level of access were to click on an option unavailable to them, they would receive a message stating that they do not have access to this option. With Mukurtu 2.0, a user will only see the options available at their level of access, saving them frustration in the long run.

It was great to see the new changes coming up in January. This will be the version our digital library will live in, so it was like getting a sneak preview of a house that is being built for you. I am excited to begin using the new system and am hoping that we will be able to become test-users for the new CMS as it becomes available for testing.

Team POSOH-TLAM is on the case!

Yesterday, when Omar, Lotus, and I met for our weekly update meeting, we dug deep into Mukurtu. It was great! As a team, we experimented and figured out how to do things that we were unclear about. Omar took the lead as the administrator of the site, changing the status of our dopplegangers, deleting mistakes, and finding instructions we needed to accomplish our experimental tasks, while Lotus and I switched between my log-in and hers, testing the limits of what each could and could not do on the site. Though we had gone through the webinar series to-date, without a complete hands-on experience, some of Mukurtu’s functions were a bit fuzzy. I think yesterday’s excursion through Mukurtu cleared up a bit of the fuzziness.

We were able to understand the workings of the “Cultural Protocols” function. Mukurtu has a wonderful layering system that allows for private groups. A “Community” can be created as an open community, a community where only the members of the community can view digital heritage items in that community (without additional restrictions within the community), or a community can have restrictions both outside and inside the community. For instance, if a community protocol only allows for tribal members of a certain group to be able to view an item, this protocol can be created and then within that group, the members limits can be set to allow only the people who fit that criteria to view certain items. Say Omar has a document that should only be viewed by him and another person, possibly do to the sensitive nature of the item, a protocol could be created with the title “Omar and ? only”. If the item is then created with this cultural protocol selected, then in order for the item to even show up, the member would need to have this protocol listed in their profile. So, in order for Omar and the other person to be able to view the object, they would both need to have this protocol listed in their profile.

This was a little confusing when we first started our journey into the Mukurtu world, but we were able to have that “Aha!” moment, which was AWESOME! The more we work with this incredible resource, the more of these moments we will have. Thank you Mukurtu team for creating this incredible resource! It is an invaluable innovation for tribal communities!

Mukurtu Mobile is Here!

On October 8, 2014, Lotus and I attended the Mukurtu webinar revolving around Mukurtu Mobile. This is an exciting addition to the already awesome Mukurtu CMS. Mukurtu Mobile is an application for mobile devices, such as iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. It allows users to log onto their Mukurtu account and upload digital heritage items on the go. This can be done either online or offline, once the user is logged in, and of course to add the items to the content of their site, they would need to be online.

During the webinar, Elena Toffalori and Ruth Tringham explained the many uses and demonstrated these uses to us. Some of the main features include:

  • Seamless integration with Drupal/Mukurtu CMS (can log in with same username and password)
  • Create digital heritage items
  • Mukurtu CMS standard metadata for content
  • set access permissions based on communities and cultural protocols
  • Collect content offline (only need to be online to upload)
  • Add media; media types supported: audio (recording tool on Mukurtu), image, video (supported by youtube)
  • Internal documentation and links to online support

For now, to enable Mukurtu Mobile, users will need to ask Mukurtu support, but once Mukurtu 2.0 is released in January 2015, this will change.

It was interesting and exciting to learn that this feature will be available. It is possible that I won’t use it a lot in my project, but hopefully it will be a useful tool to those who will become the stewards of the POSOH Digital Library. If anyone is interested in Mukurtu, please visit The people are great and would be happy to help you with any questions or help you to get set up with Mukurtu.

Omar was able to get us an instance of Mukurtu 1.0 that resides on the Pantheon servers used by the Mukurtu group. This is also very exciting because now we get to work directly with the system and learn about it in a hands-on fashion. Sometime this week or next, I will request an instance of Mukurtu Mobile for my iPad so that I can check that out, too.

I am also beginning to collect the resources for POSOH and to learn the best way to organize them both before they are added to the library and once they are part of it. Things are rolling along!

Mukurtu’s Creation Story

During the Mukurtu webinar held on September 24, 2014, I was introduced to Mukurtu on a more personal level. Kim Christen Withey, the creator of Mukurtu, and Alex Merrill, who assisted in the creation of Mukurtu 1.0 were guest speakers during this episode. It was great to hear their personal stories first-hand, giving me a deeper understanding as to the drive of the project as a whole.

Mukurtu, as I have noted in a previous post, was originally created as a one-time archival project for one specific community residing in Central Australia. In 1995, Kim Christen Withey began working with the Warumungu people in order to help them create a digital archive meant to house sensitive cultural materials in a way that adhered to their cultural protocols.

Kim told her story of how the Warumungu people were building a cultural center and were receiving mostly CDs containing digitized versions of Warumungu objects. These objects had been removed from the community and were being held in museums and archives, some of which were thousands of kilometers away. The community wanted a way to view these objects while adhering to their community, cultural protocols. In talking about the community, Kim said, “Protocols already function in a very real way offline every single day the way you interact with people”, and people in the community were saying, “How do we make it work on that (pointing to the laptop)?”And so, the seed for the Mukurtu we now know and the version to come in January was planted.

Mukurtu CMS came about after version 1.0 was created because it was apparent that there was a strong need for a CMS (content management system). This need became apparent when Kim went on the conference circuit to talk about the Mukurtu project. She said “my phone in my office starting ringing off the hook with people asking how they could get it” – at first, she thought they can’t and then began thinking of how to make it possible.

Enter Alex Merrill. Alex works with Kim on the Mukurtu project. He had been interested in history in a way that strayed from what he calls “big history”. He said, “History, as you look backward is…you look through a lens. Where that current lens is, it can look different at different times, right, and bringing in this traditional knowledge from people who aren’t part of the ‘western European scholarly record’ gives a more complete view in my mind, and so when these communities share this back with institutions, this collaborative stewardship, it makes me happy.”

After being able to hear both Kim Christen Withey and Alex Merrill talk about the paths that led them to what is happening now with Mukurtu, I understand that Mukurtu is built on a foundation of advocating for the rights of Indigenous groups to be able to be stewards of their own histories and cultures.