A librarian has developed citation templates for oral teachings shared by members of Indigenous communities.
In 2018, MacLeod began developing citation templates for oral teachings. She relied on input from people associated with the Indigenous Student Centre at NorQuest College in Edmonton, where she was working at the time. The goal was to create templates that went beyond the abbreviated personal communication citation that was, at the time, the de facto way of referencing an oral source, said MacLeod. “There’s a lot of information in these templates that doesn’t exist in the original ‘personal communication’ version. It really allows us to be able to name our people in conjunction with their stories and the knowledge they were stewards of.”
The templates, which are available online, include options to include the name of the person being cited, their nation or community, where they live, and the subject of the communication, among other information. They’re available for both American Psychological Association (APA) and Modern Language Association (MLA) citation styles, and MacLeod is committed to supporting people who wish to adapt the templates to other styles as well. These templates are currently in use by roughly 25 colleges and universities across Canada and the United States.
Some elements of the attitudes and approach to Indigenous knowledge appears to be at last improving. An important component of this is having a good approach to citing and acknowledging First People traditional knowledge. Coupled with a strong approach to Data Sovereignty.
“Limitations in the Academic System”
Lorisia MacLeod, learning services librarian at the Alberta Library in Edmonton, Alta., Canada, first realized there was a need for better citation tools for oral communication while studying anthropology as an undergraduate. Several of her professors repeatedly emphasized how difficult it was to properly acknowledge the unrecorded oral teachings of Indigenous communities in their research. They “drilled home the point that there were limitations in the academic system,” MacLeod said.