Back to Search Results

Indigenous knowledge, traditional knowledge and local knowledge: what is the difference? An informetrics perspective

Omwoyo Bosire Onyancha

2022 South Africa, Africa

Purpose – This study aims to explore the similarities and differences between the three concepts that are commonly used to describe the knowledge of traditional and indigenous communities, namely, indigenous knowledge, traditional knowledge and local knowledge, with a view to contributing to the discourse on conceptualizing indigenous knowledge.

Design/methodology/approach – Data was extracted from the Scopus database using the main terms that are used for indigenous knowledge, namely, “indigenous knowledge” (IK), “traditional knowledge” (TK) and “local knowledge” (LK). Data were analyzed according to the themes drawn from the objectives of the study, using the VOSviewer software and the analytical tool embedded in the Scopus database.

Findings – The findings indicate that whereas IK and LK are older concepts than TK, TK has become more visible in the literature than the former; there is minimal overlap in the use of the labels in the literature; the three labels’ literature is largely domiciled in the social sciences; and that there were variations in representation of the labels according to countries and geographic regions.

Practical implications – The author avers that the scatter of literature on the knowledge of traditional and indigenous peoples under the three main labels has huge implications on the accessibility and use the literature by stakeholders including researchers, students, information and knowledge managers and information service providers.

Originality/value – This study demonstrates the application of informetrics beyond is traditional use to assess trends, nature and types of research patterns and mathematical modeling of information patterns to encompass the definition of the scope of concepts as covered in the literature.

Indigenous knowledge, Traditional knowledge, Local knowledge, Bibliometrics, Research, Content analysis