Web-archiving and social media: an exploratory analysis

Evelyne Vlassenroot, Sally Chambers, Sven Lieber, Alejandra Michel, Friedel Geeraert, Jessica PRANGER, Julie Birkholz, Peter Mechant

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Résumé

The archived web provides an important footprint of the past, documenting online social behaviour through social media, and news through media outlets websites and government sites. Consequently, web archiving is increasingly gaining attention of heritage institutions, academics and policy makers. The importance of web archives as data resources for (digital) scholars has been acknowledged for investigating the past. Still, heritage institutions and academics struggle to ‘keep up to pace’ with the fast evolving changes of the World Wide Web and with the changing habits and practices of internet users. While a number of national institutions have set up a national framework to archive ‘regular’ web pages, social media archiving (SMA) is still in its infancy with various countries starting up pilot archiving projects. SMA is not without challenges; the sheer volume of social media content, the lack of technical standards for capturing or storing social media data and social media’s ephemeral character can be impeding factors. The goal of this article is three-fold. First, we aim to extend the most recent descriptive state-of-the-art of national web archiving, published in the first issue of International Journal of Digital Humanities (March 2019) with information on SMA. Secondly, we outline the current legal, technical and operational (such as the selection and preservation policy) aspects of archiving social media content. This is complemented with results from an online survey to which 15 institutions responded. Finally, we discuss and reflect on important challenges in SMA that should be considered in future archiving projects.
langue originaleAnglais
Pages (de - à)1-22
journalInternational journal of digital humanities
Les DOIs
Etat de la publicationPublié - 22 juin 2021

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