07 December 2015

Social Media Archiving -- a toolkit -- increasingly relevant and important to family historians!

It used to be we communicated in person or via written correspondence.  Then telegrams joined the mix followed by telephones ... nowadays, in addition to cell phones and face-to-face communication, we use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and numerous other social media platforms.  It’s rare that hand-written pieces of correspondence are created anymore.

We all can identify with archives that carry printed material, video material and audio material.  What about archives that only deal with material not created in any of those media?  How do you archive? How do you create access? 

This has increasingly become a challenge – archiving social media.  The perpetual question of what’s valuable and what’s not always has to be considered.  Then, a discussion of “how” to archive it is needed. Never mind the question of access.

These are very important to genealogists and family historians.  How many “cousins” have you connected to through a rootsweb newsgroup? Facebook? Instagram? Pinterest? The list goes on.

Have you “archived” all of these dialogues?  Are you assuming that the platform has done so? Are you assuming that the posting institution on Flickr has archived its uploaded material? How about those great YouTube videos – are you guaranteed access in the future?

To help institutions as they curate their social media efforts, NCSU has created a toolkit “Social Media Archives Toolkit” – “a free web-based documentary toolkit and an open source virtual software collecting environment. This initiative builds on the NCSU Libraries’ leading role in this area of work, established, in part, by its recent development of Lentil—an award-winning open source social media harvesting and presentation tool...This toolkit addresses curatorial, legal, and ethical issues associated with archiving harvested social media data.”

What have your local family history supporting institutions done to preserve their social media presence?

Are you aware of other neat tools created to help preserve social media archives?

Editor’s Note: Related Upfront with NGS blog posts ...

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