About ELOKA

Contact Us
For assistance with sharing and preserving your information or for questions about ELOKA, please contact:
ELOKA
National Snow and Ice Data Center
449 UCB
Boulder, CO 80309-0449
Phone: +1 303.492.6199
Fax: +1 303.492.2468
eloka@nsidc.org

Fieldwork photoThe Exchange for Local Observations and Knowledge of the Arctic (ELOKA) was launched during the 2007-2009 International Polar Year. The purpose of ELOKA is to provide data management services and support to Arctic communities and others who are working with local and traditional knowledge (LTK) or who are gathering community-based monitoring data and information.

ELOKA facilitates the collection, preservation, exchange, and use of local observations and knowledge of the Arctic. ELOKA provides data management and user support, and fosters collaboration between resident Arctic experts and visiting researchers. By working together, Arctic residents and researchers can make significant contributions to understanding the Arctic and recent changes.

Over the last decade, Arctic residents and Indigenous peoples have been increasingly involved in, and taking control of, research. Through local and traditional knowledge (LTK) research and community-based monitoring, Arctic communities have made, and continue to make, significant contributions to understanding recent environmental change.

A key challenge of LTK research and community-based monitoring to date is having an effective and appropriate means of recording, storing, and managing data and information. Another challenge is to find an effective means of making such data available to Arctic residents and researchers, as well as other interested groups such as teachers, students, and decision makers. Without a network and data management system to support LTK and community-based research, a number of problems have arisen, such as misplacement or loss of extremely precious data from Elders who have passed away, lack of awareness of previous studies causing repetition of research and wasted resources occurring in the same communities, and a reluctance or inability to initiate or maintain community-based research without an available data management system. Thus, there is an urgent need for effective and appropriate means of recording, preserving, and sharing the information collected in Arctic communities. ELOKA aims to fill this gap.

Group photoELOKA team members attended the Community Workshop, Northern Meeting, 26-27 February 2010 in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik. Photo credit: Chris McNeave

ELOKA's overarching philosophy is that LTK and scientific expertise are complementary and reinforcing ways of understanding the Arctic system. Collecting, documenting, preserving, and sharing knowledge is a cooperative endeavor, and ELOKA is dedicated to fostering understanding and shared knowledge between Arctic residents, scientists, educators, policy makers, and the general public. ELOKA operates on the principle that all knowledge should be treated ethically, and intellectual property rights should be respected.

Group photoELOKA team members attended the Community Workshop, Southern Meeting, on 1 March 2010 in Ottawa, Ontario. Photo credit: Chris McNeave

ELOKA is a service available for research projects, communities, organizations, schools, and individuals who need help storing, protecting, and sharing local and traditional knowledge. ELOKA works with many different types of data:

  • Written interview transcripts
  • Audio or video tapes and files
  • Photographs, artwork, illustrations, and maps
  • Digital geographic information such as GPS tracks, and data created using Geographic Information Systems
  • Quantitative data such as temperature, snow thickness, wind data, etc.

ELOKA is collaborating with other organizations engaged in addressing data management issues for community-based research. Together, we are working to build a community that facilitates international knowledge exchange, development of resources, and collaboration focused on local communities and stewardship of their data, information, and knowledge. Please look at our Partners page for more information. 

This site is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Numbers ARC 0856634 and ARC 1231638. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.