As a member of the ZSR Web Archiving Team (along with Stephanie Bennett, Rebecca May and Kevin Gilbertson), I was interested to attend the workshop offered by SNCA (Society of North Carolina Archivists) at Duke University last week. Our group has been able to capture much of the content we want under the and domains by collecting it with a product from the Internet Archive, Archive-it. After capturing the content, it is available using the Wayback Machine. (Sherman and Peabody would be proud). However, social media has at times been challenging to capture. The workshop was taught by the knowledgable Jessica Venlet, Assistant University Archivist for Records Mgt & Electronic Records at UNC.

Jessica began the workshop by asking why we collect social media, to which she gave these answers: to enhance born digital collections, an important mode of communication for many; to collect events as they unfold, as in community activism; or to broaden the perspectives of what is in your own, unique collections.

There are several types of web archiving:

  • Website archiving-This is what we do currently using Archive-it.
  • API (application programming interface) based collection-twarc is a tool to collect by API.
  • Archivesocial–archivesocial is another archiving service.

There are several technical challenges in capturing social media. Some of these are:

  • Capturing all the desired features on a site, like the images and video.
  • There is a learning curve for using these tools. (Yes there is!)
  • Capturing an App vs. a browser version of a site.
  • Permissions and the ethics of a collection-just because something is public doesn’t mean it is an easy collection development choice because of surveillance concerns, intentions, and privacy.
  • An API includes a developer agreement and access issues.

We discussed collection development issues around permission and ethical decisions and referred to a discussion of collection development issues and questions.

I tested Web Recorder during our exploration time and felt it was easy to use and effective. This link shows a short recording, in which you can navigate with arrows across the top of the page.

The workshop was very useful and helped us understand more clearly the difficulties of capturing social media. Thanks SNCA for a great workshop!