Getting Started

The Ethno-ornithology World Atlas (EWA) is a space where cultural knowledge about birds from different peoples in the world (stories, media, local names, translations and more) may be shared amongst small groups or with any viewer.  Over time, as more people contribute to the cultural atlas, EWA will become a rich mosaic of cultural heritage centred around birds. 


The best way to learn how to use EWA is simply to start using it. If you would like to contribute material we HIGHLY recommend watching the tutorial videos produced by Mukurtu, whose platform we use. In particular, watch these to understand what EWA Communities and Protocols are and how to create them. To begin, plan to spend some time experimenting and learning the EWA platform. Once you learn the basics, we think you will find it to be a powerful means of sharing knowledge in responsible and responsive ways.

After becoming familiar with the building blocks of Mukurtu sites, you have the option to apply to be a registered user and contributor to this site. To contribute material, you will need to be both a member of a Community AND a member of a Cultural (Sharing) Protocol. All new EWA registrants are automatically added to the Community called 'People + Birds Around the World', and the associated Protocol 'Open to All Abierto a Tod@s'. We suggest you begin there (note that EWA administrators reserve the right to unpublish entries that seem to be practice/ sandbox trials). Once you are a registered user contributing material to EWA, you'll need to think about:

  • What kind of content do I want to contribute? The main two choices are a) Digital Heritage and b) BirdWords names
  • Do I have the right to contribute this material? You have the right to share material if:   
    • --it is your personal writing or experience or record and any other individuals' or people's experience you include is done with their express permission [link: What is informed consent?]; 
    • --the material is already in the Public Domain [link](though note that some culture groups may not have given permissions for their knowledge to be in the Public Domain, in which case TK Licenses and Labels may be useful to indicate this) 
    • --you belong to a culture group to which this material belongs /is practiced, and you will not break local customs or law by submitting it.
    • --you do not belong to the cultural group but the community of origin has given you express informed consent to deposit this material in EWA, including levels of visibility. You may wish to use TK Licenses or Labels to indicate the cultural domain(s) or protocols for the knowledge. Also, carefully consider which level of public visibility to give the material and when possible, include knowledge-holders from the community of origin as co-authors.
  • Whom do I want to have access to this material, or, what cultural protocols for public access do I want to associate with this material? You can choose to keep it private to yourself, to share within a select group of members of a cultural protocol, or to make it open to all to view.

You'll need to prepare your materials. Best to gather any text files, photos, audio recordings or videos in one folder on your device, and upload from there to the SCALD function on the right hand side of your EWA window. Text can be cut and pasted directly into the editing windows of a new Digital Heritage item or BirdWord item.

Upload a file via SCALD: SCALD is the media upload tool in the Mukurtu platform, on the right side of your screen when you are in Add Content pages. You may upload the following file formats (max 2 MB): ppt pptx xls xlsx doc docx odt pdf txt csv odg sxw ods rtf zip rar gz 7z tar.

Licensing and Labels: All material on EWA will be required to include a license and/or TK label. Contributors may choose from a variety of licenses and labels. We understand that this is a complex aspect of the contribution process and that selecting the most appropriate license/label will require some time and research on the part of the contributor. However, this is particularly important for safeguarding Indigenous and local knowledge rights and responsibilities.

If you have lots of material with the same metadata: You can create one template item with all the metadata you need (e.g., language, place, description, author, contributor, etc.), then DUPLICATE it as many times as you like. [Note that EWA is slightly different from the general Mukurtu function in that anyone can make duplicates,  not just Protocol Stewards.] Then go back and edit the duplicate copies to put in their unique information such as bird names or stories. Alternatively, you can explore doing a BULK UPLOAD by zip or CSV file by contacting an EWA administrator. 

EWA Collaborators – If you are planning a research project and would like to use EWA as a tool for collaborative transparency (e.g., with the communities of knowledge origin where you work), we will do our best to work with you to explore you or your community’s needs. As with any other contribution, you need to make sure you have the permission of the knowledge holders to deposit content in EWA. 

Language Support - EWA has content written or spoken in many languages. Pages may be translated using the Google Translate dropdown list in the upper right of the page.  Please let us know if you have trouble with diacritics or other display issues in your language.