Genealogists use a wide variety of online resources for the purpose of doing research on their ancestors. Everything from popular genealogy websites to a common Google search can be utilized in the hopes of finding results. It’s not easy to search social media for specific information. The NCSU Libraries are going to change that by developing a Social Media Archives Toolkit.
Have you ever tried to search for specific information on a social media website? It can be frustrating. Type in the name of a relative or ancestor, and you will end up with dozens of irrelevant results. Click on a hashtag about an important historical event – even on the anniversary of that event – and you can end up with data that doesn’t actually match the topic. Every social media website has its own form of search, and using one will not give you any results from other social media sites.
The NCSU Libraries were awarded an EZ Innovation Grant from the State of North Carolina in 2014. The grant was to be used to develop a freely available web-based documentary toolkit that publicly documents the NCSU Libraries efforts to develop a sophisticated social media archival program in a way that may help guide cultural heritage organizations that are interested in collecting and curating social media content.
The goal of the Social Media Archives Toolkit is to have a meaningful impact on archival researchers by promoting the inclusion in the historical record of a larger and more diverse set of perspectives found through social media platforms. It will be in addition to other tools that were previously developed by the NSCU Libraries, including Lentil and the Social Media Combine.
The Social Media Archive Toolkit may aid cultural heritage organizations to:
* Develop collecting strategies for content such as official communication from their institution as well as crowdsourced communication from communities of interest
* Gain knowledge of how peer institutions have gone about collecting similar content
* Develop an understanding of the current and potential use of social media content by researchers
* Assess the legal and ethical implications of archiving social media content for future use by researchers
* Develop techniques for enriching collections at minimal cost by taking advantage of harvesting interfaces provided by social media platforms.
* There is a chance that something you post on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or another social media website could be included in the archives of a genealogy or historical society. Your descendants might be able to one day read your viewpoint about a significant cultural, social, or historical situation.
Image by Alan Reeves on Flickr.
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