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About Pacific Worlds:
Guiding Principles

About | Guiding Principles |  Methodology  |  Project Staff  |  Usage Policy


Pacific Worlds draws its inspiration from a consortium of Indigenous educators who were concerned about education and cultural preservation in their communities. It was recognized that there was a gap between preserving and maintaining traditional knowledge and cultural values, and the internet/computer technology environment that has come to dominate modern society. Bridging this gap would both make cultural education and preservation more effective, and show the relevance of modern technologies to traditional ways, thereby hopefully inspiring young Native people to take interest in both.

Pacific Islands pose a unique situation in which a wide range of often closely-related cultures are spread over a vast geographical area. Yet since this vast distribution of peoples contains a relatively small population, there are limited resources for education within the region, and for sharing quality information with those outside the region. Pacific Worlds aims to serve this need by developing place-focused materials rich in cultural heritage and local viewpoint, but that also provide standardized information for comparative investigation of the region.

This project began with a focus on the Hawaiian Islands. Since then, Pacific Worlds has been able to expand beyond Hawai‘i to island entities in Micronesia. We hope to continue to broaden our scope to other areas of the Pacific, and we encourage users to build parallel websites to which we can link.

To accomplish its goals, the development of Pacific Worlds follows five guidelines:

(1) it must be comparative:
to foster a pan-Pacific sense of identity to explore the diverse heritage of this region, there must be material from an exemplary cross-section of locations;

(2) it must be consistent:
information must be presented in a fairly standardized platform or template that allows for comparison. The navigation structure for the site should allow users to move freely across the region to compare information on the same topic in different locations. At the same time, standardization must not result in a "cookie cutter" approach that tries to fit information into a rigid form, regardless of its content. Rather, it must reshape itself to adapt to specific local circumstances while retaining consistency;

(3) it requires an efficient methodology:
producing the number of web sites embodying the magnitude of information sought requires a collection and production methodology that is feasible within a reasonable time-frame;

(4) there must be quality control:
in order to accomplish its goal of producing a comparative resource, there must be a comparable level of quality--in the production, and in the information presented--across all website produced by Pacific Worlds. At the same time, this project encourages communities to create their own websites, hopes to be able to foster the technological skills for local peoples to do so, and will provide links to such sites as they become available.

(5) Indigenous voices must lead as much as possible:
It is our primary aim to explore indigenous viewpoints and understandings of the environment and society. We explore this through first-hand information from people of the area, and supplement their testimony with historical writings, documents, images, maps, and photographs. At the same time, we include more "Western" information as it relates to the indigenous issues discussed, and to the extent that it both helps to clarify or frame indigenous issues in a common platform or relate them to contemporary issues.

Learn more about the methodology involved in producing Pacific Worlds websites.

About |  Guiding Principles |  Methodology  |  Project Staff  |  Usage Policy




Copyright 2004, Pacific Worlds & Associates