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Ed Summers @edsu

The Documenting the Now project (which I've been lucky to be a part of) published its ethics white paper today about archiving social media in times of protest.


The findings in short are:

1. Archivists must engage and work with the communities they wish to document on the web. Archives are often powerful institutions. Attention to the positionality of the archive vis-à-vis content creators, particularly in the case of protest, is a prime consideration that can guide efforts at preservation and access.

2. Documentation efforts must go beyond what can be collected without permission from the web and social media. Social media collected with the consent of content creators can form a part of richer documentation efforts that include the collection of oral histories, photographs, correspondence, and more. Simply telling the story of what happens in social media is not enough, but it can be a beginning.

3. Archivists should follow social media platforms’ terms of service only where they are congruent with the values of the communities they are attempting to document. What is legal is not always ethical, and what is ethical is not always legal. Context, agency and (again) positionality matter.

4. When possible, archivists should apply traditional archival practices such as appraisal, collection development, and donor relations to social media and web materials. It is hard work adapting these concepts to the collection of social media content, but they matter now, more than ever.

@edsu Interesting but fascinating. I'm an advocate for (multi-)media preservation, but hadn't really given much thought to *social* media preservation, especially within the context of censorship and social unrest.

I'll be taking a closer look at this white paper, thanks!