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Abstract Detail

Society for Economic Botany/BSA Economic Botany Section

Fuller , Dr. Rebekah [1].

Using mobile phones and ODK to collect and preserve indigenous ethnobotanical knowledge.

Open Data Kit (ODK) is a free suite of tools created to help organizations and researchers collect, aggregate and visualize their data. Run as an open-source project it allows the collection of data on mobile phones anddata submission to a central web based server. The system can be modified to suit particular research and to date has yet to be applied to the conservation of indigenous ethnobotanical knowledge. Protecting and preserving ethnobotanical knowledge is of up most importance to Māori, the indigenous people of New Zealand. The aim of this pilot study was to test ODK asa community friendly suite of tools capable of collecting, collating and storing Maori ethnobotanical knowledge. The study site is described as the rohe (traditional boundaries) of the Maori tribe of Ngapuhi, North Island, New Zealand. Questions were developed to test a number of options available to ODK, including open, multiple-choice and location questions. Data recorded included social variables and ethnobotanical information on the cultivated and non-cultivated crops grown in home gardens. Interviews were completed with the assistance Te Runanga-A-Iwi-O-Ngapuhi a representative body of the tribe.Three main benefits for communities were identified. Firstly, in an interview situation ODK was easy to use and interviewees were comfortable with mobile phones being used. Secondly, there is benefit in formatting and managing a secure online database protecting intellectual property rights and guardianship of the information. Thirdly, the suite of tools has an inbuilt flexibility to be able to collect different data types including interview responses, GPS locations, images and video recordings. Although a powerful research tool, ODK may be difficult to be set up and run by community groups. There may also be issues with the use of GPS functions that rely on cellular network coverage. Modifying or creating a similar system able to be directed towards communities would be of great value for protecting and conserving indigenous ethnobotanical knowledge in the future.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - University of Auckland , School of Biological Sciences, 23a Symonds Street, Auckland Central, Auckland, New Zealand

New Zealand Maori
Indigenous community
Intellectual property.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 22
Location: Maryland Room/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 4:15 PM
Number: 22003
Abstract ID:443

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