By Cara Krmpotich
GRASAC’s Knowledge Sharing System, what we all affectionately call the GKS, is 17 years old. It’s on the verge of adulthood! And with that comes change and a maturing. And if it’s true that it takes a village to raise a child, it is indeed taking a village to support the GKS through this change.
GRASAC Co-Directors Heidi Bohaker and Cara Krmpotich are joined by Project Manager Bradley Clements, Web Design Consultant Richard Laurin, Drupal Developer Victor Tarcenco, IT Manager Priya Murugaiah and IT Director Sotira Chrisanthidis as we migrate the GKS from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9.
Much more than a technical upgrade, this work builds on user focus groups led by Ricky Punzalan and his team of research assistants at the University of Michigan, and on-going dialogues with GRASAC members. We are working toward a GKS that provides greater public access to the rich knowledges, images, and language facilities within the database. Building on the interdisciplinarity and sense of responsibility for knowledge sharing that is at the core of GRASAC and the GKS, the upcoming GKS will continue to be a platform that seeks to model possibilities for living and working in alliance, and Indigenizing people’s understanding of the Great Lakes.
One way we are doing this is by centring kinship and generational approaches in our work. Inspired by GRASACers methods of “visiting” when in collections, when people meet Great Lakes heritage items online in the GKS, we want them to be able to spend time with those items in what feels like a familiar space, with familiar language, and imagery they can be proud of. We want the records in the GKS to be places that nurture life and encourage good things to grow. We are working to centre on-going relations to the waters, lands, beings and seasons of the Great Lakes. And we are inspired by the enduring alliances of the Great Lakes, that span generations.
The migration from Drupal 7 to Drupal 9, and its presentation through an updated interface, will take another year to complete. In the interim, a team of research assistants continues to update records, reconsidering how we describe heritage items, building up the connections between heritage items and language items, and considering how people are likely to search and browse for relatives within the GKS.