Human knowledge of the polar region is a unique blend of Western scientific knowledge and local and indigenous knowledge. It is increasingly recognized that to exclude Traditional Knowledge from repositories of polar data would both limit the value of such repositories and perpetuate colonial legacies of exclusion and exploitation. However, the inclusion of Traditional Knowledge within repositories that are conceived and designed for Western scientific knowledge raises its own unique challenges. There is increasing acceptance of the need to make these two knowledge systems interoperable but in addition to the technical challenge there are legal and ethical issues involved.
The University of Ottawa’s Centre for Law, Technology and Society (CLTS), Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy & Public Interest Clinic (CIPPIC), and Carleton University’s Geomatics and Cartographic Research Centre (GCRC) propose a licensing scheme available to traditional knowledge holders. The scheme aims to assist traditional knowledge holders communicate their expectations for appropriate use of their knowledge to all end users.