Is any archives working with writers to preserve their social media content?

I’m posting this great question on behalf of Kirsty Lee, a student in the master’s program at the Centre for Archive and Information Studies at the University of Dundee.

Does anyone know of an archives, special collection department or other repository which is actively engaged with a working writer to capture and preserve his or her social media presence?

And if not an author, anyone know of any examples of archives working with individual people, rather than organizations, to proactively preserve their social media content?

Please pass this question along to your colleagues. I’m sure we’d all be interested in learning about efforts of this kind.



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6 thoughts on “Is any archives working with writers to preserve their social media content?”

  1. I worked with social media archiving, but not with a writer (that will come soon where I am now-see below). The person was a famous Canadian businessman, and I archived his Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts for Brock University. I had no budget, and only had access to the front ends of these accounts, so that meant getting creative. There were many issues that came up, including: how one deals with third part posts, how to deal with links, which versions of the social media do you archive (do you sign in and archive a public page or not sign in and archive the page shown) and how do you give researchers access these materials-does one screen print, or provide a laptop in the reading room for them, or both. Those were just a few issues I faced, I could write a book on it!

    Contact me if you need more information.

    Lisa Snider
    Harry Ransom Center

  2. The short version: the Library of Congress is documenting ALL of Twitter. I work with SF/F authors and encourage them to either do periodic screencaps, printing to PDF, or imaging of some sort of their websites and blogs using what capture tools I can find. I also encourage them to submit their URLs to The Internet Archive in the hopes of additional snapshots. We’re not even doing webtrawling capture at this point, because we aren’t equipped to deal with the results.

    My library isn’t set up for long term digital preservation yet, so I’m focusing on helping people do selection and continuous migration forward, in the hopes of there being some stuff that survives when we get our butts in gear.

    We have an IMLS National Leadership Grant that has helped us figure out what our needs are, but once the grant runs out, we still have the programmatic problem of finding the financial and personnel resources to actually IMPLEMENT something. *sigh*

  3. I am using the social feed manager app developed by Dan Chudnov (@dchud) with further decelopment by Dan Kerchner (dankerchner) and others at George Washington University libraries to collect tweets of student organizations, administrators and offices at GW. This is the beginning of a larger plan to develop policy recommendations for collection development of social media records. I am not currently collecting individuals outside the university but our special collections librarian plans to use the sfm app to collect tweets from local poets and local poetry organizations since it is one of our stronger collecting areas. I think collecting social media for individuals, as a way to enhance existing collections of those people is important and probably something we will see more of.

    sfm on github:

  4. It is a great question. Both Twitter and Facebook offer zip “archive” downloads of content that is posted there. It’s quite nice because these zip files, once uncompressed, are very simple static HTML websites that you can look at in your browser. Manuscript archives could ask donors to download a snapshot of their Twitter and Facebook accounts and include it in their donation.

    Emory did a lot of pioneering work with Salman Rushdie’s born digital collection. He is also fairly active on Twitter. I wonder if they are working with is social media at all.

  5. Someone to look into may be the young adult author John Green. I know that he is very current with using technology to reach his readers, so it may be possible that he is working with a library or archives to preserve his digital footprint.

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