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Ricardo Gomez

SIET- System for Information and Evaluation with Tseltal community in Chiapas, Mexico

This is an applied research project in collaboration with One Equal Heart Foundation among Tseltal Maya indigenous communities in Chiapas, Mexico. We develop and test an integrated information system in support of endogenous community development. We bring together three different information resources and their respective practices (existing community radio, nascent community library, and new monitoring & evaluation program) into a single integrated system that respects, promotes, preserves and strengthens indigenous identity and culture and “Lekil Cuxlejalil”, a Tseltal concept of the Good Life.  Research underlies implementation as we draw from theory and practice in indigenous knowledge, community radio, archives, and monitoring & evaluation, in order to create a robust and easy to use framework and tools for training and implementation in the field, to produce the following:

1. Research tools that can be adapted in different contexts

  1. Community Library: Training Materials
    • Inventory state of the collection – what do they have, where, in what condition
    • Criteria for retention and digitization – how to decide what to keep, what to digitize, what to discard
    • Process for records management – how to do proper storage, digitization, disposition, and what database to use. Metadata for collection
  2. Community Evaluation using Participatory Photography:  Fotohistorias
    • Fotohistorias: participatory photography and storytelling to document aspects of community life and development projects:
      • Lekil Cuxlejalil, or Living Fully.
      • Women’s Voices and their contribution to community development
      • Community Radio and its role
      • Caretakers of Mother Earth
  3. Community Radio: with Mauricio Beltran, SIPAZ Colombia
    • Strategic vision of radio in communication ecosystem
    • Strengtehning radio programming in support of the Good Life or Living Fully

2. Methodological and theoretical insights that contribute to deeper understanding of indigenous knowledge, community archiving, and monitoring & evaluation of development activities among indigenous communities.

Research Team:

  • UW Faculty:  Ricardo Gomez
  • UW Students: Yvette Iribe, Diane Lopez
  • One Equal Heart, Seattle: Jeannie Berwick
  • Jesuit Mission of Bachajon: Arturo Estrada SJ, Director
  • CEDIAC, Chiapas: Mariano Morales, Francisco Guzman, David Perez, Pablo Perez
  • SIPAZ, Colombia: Mauricio Beltrán
  • IBERO University: Genoveva Vergara
  • ICESI University, Colombia: Luis Fernando Barón, María del Mar Moreno
  • Past UW collaborators include Freddy Mora, Kelle Rose, Leslie Granillo, Jessica Humphreys


Tri-lingual, full color books:  

Gomez, R. & Berwick, J. Eds. (2018). SIET – Sistema de Información y Evaluación Tseltal – Tseltal Information and Evaluation System. 312 pgs. Seattle, WA: One Equal Heart Foundation (PDF).

Compilation, includes four previously published volumes:


Other Research Results:

Gomez R, Iribe Ramirez Y, Berwick J. (2018). Radio, library, and storytelling: Building an information system for indigenous community development in Chiapas, Mexico. Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries (EJISDC), e12062. (Link)

Iribe, Y., Gomez, R., Berwick, J., Moreno, M., & Vergara, G. Women’s Contributions to Living Fully in a Tseltal Indigenous Information System, Poster presented at iConference 2018, Sheffield, UK, March 2018) (Poster) (Abstract)

Iribe, Y., Gomez, R., Mora, S. & Berwick, J.  (2017) Integrated Information Systems for Indigenous Community Development in Chiapas, Mexico: The case of SIET. Paper presented at ICIS Conference, Seoul, Korea, Dec 2017  (Poster)

Humphries, J. & Rose, K. (2017). SIET Year 1 Capstone Report: Research and Recommendations for Snahul stsobojib sp’ijilal sjol yo’tan jlumaltic (Tseltal House of Wisdom). Capstone Report, University of Washington Information School, May 2017.

Gomez, R., Lefthand-Begay, C., Berwick, J., Zubair, C., Iribe, Y. & Mora, S. (2017). Indigenous Information System in Chiapas, Mexico: integrating community radio, library and impact assessment for community developmentPoster presented at iConference 2017. Wuhan, China, March 2017.

Gomez, R., Lefthand-Begay, C., Berwick, J., Zubair, C., Iribe, Y. & Mora, S. (2017). Indigenous Information System in Chiapas, Mexico: integrating community radio, library and impact assessment for community developmentPoster presented at iSchool Research Fair 2017. University of Washington.

Granillo, L., Helmer, J., Sobczak; J. & Nobs, J. (2016) Exercising Agency within Library Collections: A study in pairing library management systems and indigenous community libraries. Final project for Research Methods class LIS570, Fall 2016, University of Washington.

Iribe Ramirez, Y. & St Louis, P. (2016). Best Practices Handbook: Collection Management & Staff Training. UW Capstone, University of Washington.

Lopez, A., Guerrero, D., Cooper, C., Torres, S. (2016) Community Engagement Recommendations. UW Capstone. University of Washington.

Otros Resultados:


Poster trilingüe, Español, Tseltal, Inglés para comunidad Pinabetal y otros eventos en Seattle

Otros materiales de diseminación:

  1. Crónica de viaje de Ricardo (editada) en  Español  y en  English
  2. Carta a Tatic, de Mauricio, en Español
  3. Presentacion SIET PPT para diferentes charlas en UW y OEH
  4. Comentarios en Blog
    1. OEH 
      On Fotohistorias in Chiapas (Jan 2018):
      Mauricio, on Radio:
      Ricardo, on SIET, English:
      Cala, on travel experience, English:
      Jeannie: team at OEH Fiesta:
    2. UW iSchool
    3. Ibero
      2018: Proyecto SIET en Bachajon