Enabling Social Media Research and Archiving

Social media data represents a tremendous opportunity for memory institutions of all kinds, be they large academic research libraries, or small community archives. Researchers from a broad swath of disciplines have a great deal of interest in working with social media content, but they often lack access to datasets or the technical skills needed to create them. Further, it is clear that social media is already a crucial part of the historical record in areas ranging from events your local community to national elections. But attempts to build archives of social media data are largely nascent. This workshop will be both an introduction to collecting data from the APIs of social media platforms, as well as a discussion of the roles of libraries and archives in that collecting.

Assuming no prior experience, the workshop will begin with an explanation of how APIs operate. We will then focus specifically on the Twitter API, as Twitter is of significant interest to researchers and hosts an important segment of discourse. Through a combination of hands-on and demos, we will gain experience with a number of tools that support collecting social media data (e.g., Twarc, Social Feed Manager, DocNow, Twurl, and TAGS), as well as tools that enable sharing social media datasets (e.g., Hydrator, TweetSets, and the Tweet ID Catalog). The workshop will then turn to a discussion of how to build a successful program enabling social media collecting at your institution. This might cover a variety of topics including outreach to campus researchers, collection development strategies, the relationship between social media archiving and web archiving, and how to get involved with the social media archiving community. This discussion will be framed by a focus on ethical considerations of social media data, including privacy and responsible data sharing.

Time permitting, we will provide a sampling of some approaches to social media data analysis, including Twarc Utils and Jupyter Notebooks.
2:00-5:00
Room: Omni Shoreham Hotel Congressional B