Creating a digital book of Franz Boas’ 1930 Kwakwaka’wakw films

Boas, Dr. Bunn-Marcuse explained, carried a 16mm camera and wax cylinders for sound recording with him on his last trip to the Pacific Northwest in 1930. At the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw village of Tsax̱is (Fort Rupert), British Columbia, Boas worked with George Hunt and other members of the extended Hunt, Knox, and Wilson families to record material for a never-finished study of rhythm and gesture. The product was 51 minutes of film clips showing technology, games, speech-making, and hereditary dance privileges.

For the last several months I have assisted Dr. Bunn-Marcuse with the early steps of publishing Ka̱ns Hiłile (Making it Right) as a digital book with University of Washington Press. As Dr. Bunn-Marcuse pointed out in her presentation, publishing Ka̱ns Hiłile (Making it Right) as an online book means that readers can encounter film clips such as this alongside audio, images of the dancer’s regalia, and text from Dr. Bunn-Marcuse and members of the Kwakiutl First Nation.

This will be the first time all these materials have been united since the film was taken. Most importantly, publishing Ka̱ns Hiłile (Making it Right) online means that all information uncovered by this project will be available to Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw community members and the U’mista Cultural Center in order to meet community needs.

A primary goal for Ka̱ns Hiłile (Making it Right) is to provide links or citations to as much original material as possible so that anyone who wishes to carry out further research will not have to start from scratch.

One of my responsibilities for this project is to build the digital collection of images and objects that will appear in the final published book and to upload the collection to Omeka, an online content management system. It would be irresponsible of me to simply upload these materials to the online collection without also including information about where they come from, however.

Instead, when I import files into Omeka I also include metadata (literally “data that describes data,” or information about the items that the digital files represent) using the Dublin Core schema. This includes basic details about the item’s name, creator(s), and date of origin, but it also includes information on where to find the physical object, who owns the rights to it, and the category of file.

Article Source: Burke Museum