Articles & Journals dealing with Orality & the knowledge society

Here we introduce initiatives which contribute to knowledge production and transfer in oral cultures and promote the inclusion of African societies in the global knowledge society.

Awerweg, Udo Richard & Greyling, Elizabeth Hester:
Some challenges for Information and Communication Technologies in Indigenous Knowledge preservation [pdf]

By digitalising indigenous knowledge, information and communication technology (ICT) offers new opportunities and perspectives for the global information society, as well as for the local communities in which indigenous knowledge was (and continues to be) developed. This essay examines some of the problems which may arise when ICT is used for cultural knowledge, such as the issues around context, dates, information and knowledge (as these are often viewed differently by the West than by indigenous cultures).

Greyling, Betsie: Preserving Indigenous Knowledge: a model for Community Participation in African Libraries.   english

This contribution proposes a model for establishing a participative digital library of indigenous knowledge. The model relies on public libraries and aims at developing a virtual platform which makes a decisive contribution to the global information society and at the same time strengthens everybody involved by preserving their traditional knowledge, improving access to it and by supporting their competencies in terms of dealing with modern information and communication technology.

Greyling, Elizabeth & Sipho Zulu: Content Development in an Indigenous Digital Library: a case study in Community Participation [pdf]   english

Greyling and Zulu show on the basis of the ULWAZI project in Durban how African libraries can make indigenous knowledge available by offering a contextualised online information service. With the help of modern information technology, a platform has been created which allows communities to participate actively in gathering and processing local cultural knowledge.

Meyer, Hester: Communicating Science to Rural Communities requires Boundary Crossing [pdf]   english

In this 2002 article, the author presents concepts of communication and of acquiring, interpreting and exchanging knowledge in rural African societies which are usually characterised by oral tradition (e.g. collective memory, repetition, mnemo technique). According to the author, knowing about these concepts of communication and overcoming respective cultural barriers is the precondition for the successful imparting of scientific information in cultures characterised by oral tradition.

Meyer, Hester: The influence of information behaviour on information sharing across cultural boundaries in development contexts   english

In this 2009 article, Meyer examines the information-behaviour of people in rural communities living in the traditional manner and the importance of that behaviour in the context of development. In particular, focus is given to the communication between people from cultures characterised by written tradition and those characterised by oral tradition.

Meyer, Hester: The nature of information, and the effective use of information in rural development   english

In this 2005 article, the author analyses the different attributes of “information” and identifies both conducive and obstructive properties in the context of development. She states that abstract information as well as information which depends on a medium or on context is more difficult to impart and requires extensive knowledge of the information-behaviour of the target group and the employment of suitable methods.