Budgeting for Collaborative Digital Curation / Julia Gray

In this study path, learners will create a budget proposal for a digital community project using Mukurtu. Learners will consider what resources are needed to ensure ethical collaboration and partnerships.

By Julia Gray, Independent Consultant, Riverside Museum Solutions

Prerequisite Knowledge

Students engaging with this activity should have a basic understanding of how digital curation projects are carried out, and what must be included in the budget for such a project. Knowledge of actual dollar costs are not required.

Learning Objectives

  • Learners will identify practical considerations for implementing a collaborative digital curation project, with a focus on the logistical work and associated costs that are different from more traditional digital humanities projects.
  • Learners will being to recognize that collaborative digital projects have practical, logistical differences that must be taken into account when planning for and implementing such projects.


Reflection/discussion prompt

A truly collaborative approach to digital humanities is often discussed through a theoretical lense, with considerations of ethics, equity, and social justice. But what are the real, hard costs associated with accomplishing these high-level goals?


This assignment asks students to compare the practical budget implications of doing traditional digital curation projects to collaborative digital curation.

  • Find an example of a digital curation/digital humanities project that was carried out entirely or largely within an institution.
  • Develop a budget outline for the project. This will include budget lines for each component of the project, but does not require dollar amounts. Focus on what needs funding, not how much it will cost. Make sure to include things like hardware and software, programming and design, and content development/curation.
  • Visit Mukurtu.org, becoming familiar with the practical, logistical aspects of collaborative community digital curation using Mukurtu as a platform.
  • Some specific places to visit include:
  • http://mukurtu.org/learn/  This page provides excellent introductions to Mukurtu.
  • http://support.mukurtu.org/  This knowledge base page provides links and search capability to help understand the actual use of Mukurtu.
  • http://support.mukurtu.org/customer/portal/articles/2558813 This link provides details about the metadata fields used in Mukurtu. It is a good way to familiarize students with the types of information that will be gathered through collaboration and community-based curation.
  • Students might also take a look at the Community + Museum Guidelines for Collaboration at https://sarweb.org/guidelinesforcollaboration/. These include many of the practical considerations that support effective collaboration.
  • Create a budget outline that incorporates support for the collaborative process.


The instructor can evaluate student learning by asking students to compare and contrast the practical, logistical, and financial requirements for collaborative community digital curation with the requirements of more traditional digital humanities projects. This can be done as a written assignment or in discussion.


Mukurtu CMS

Mukurtu (MOOK-oo-too) is a grassroots project aiming to empower communities to manage, share, and exchange their digital heritage in culturally relevant and ethically-minded ways. We are committed to maintaining an open, community-driven approach to Mukurtu’s continued development. Our first priority is to help build a platform that fosters relationships of respect and trust.

Communities + Museums: Guidelines for Collaboration, School for Advanced Research

This website includes guidelines developed for both museums planning to collaborate with Native communities, and for Native communities wishing to work with museums. It also includes a variety of background information and short case studies.

Readings (optional)

Anderson, Jane. 2005. “Indigenous Knowledge, Intellectual Property, Libraries and Archives: Crises of Access, Control and Future Utility.” Australian Academic & Research Libraries 36 (2): 83–94. https://doi.org/10.1080/00048623.2005.10721250.
Christen, Kimberly A. 2012. “Does Information Really Want to Be Free? Indigenous Knowledge Systems and the Question of Openness.” International Journal of Communication 6 (0): 24. http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc/article/view/1618.
Cushman, Ellen. 2013. “Wampum, Sequoyan, and Story: Decolonizing the Digital Archive.” College English 76 (2): 115–35. http://digitalnais.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/CE0762Wampum.pdf.
Duarte, Marisa Elena, and Miranda Belarde-Lewis. 2015. “Imagining: Creating Spaces for Indigenous Ontologies.” Cataloging & Classification Quarterly 53 (5–6): 677–702. http://digitalrhetoricandnetworkedcomposition.web.unc.edu/files/2016/01/duarte-and-belarde-creating-spaces-for-indigenous.pdf.

Case Studies

Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Mukurtu CMS

Communities of practice

Sustainable Heritage Network

Exemplary projects

Plateau People’s Web Portal

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