I am seeking to form a panel with scholars exploring the issue of social media output as primary sources for future historians. How will current archival and scholarly practices affect historical research in the future? What is the role of historians in curating and/or preserving such material?
Historians have always conducted research that defies geography, time, and formats, especially those who study ethnic and transnational populations. Today, people make extensive use of social media both at the communal, as well as the individual level. Out of this use, new forms of primary sources have come forth (tweets, Facebook (either private, or group/community pages), websites, blogs, etc.).
Social media output, abundant, albeit ephemeral, presents issues of curation, preservation, contextualization, and relevance among a sea of data. If memory institutions (archives, libraries, museums), as well as historians, do not take initiatives to preserve and provide semantically relevant access to this material, historians in the future will lack primary sources with which to conduct scholarship about today’s history.
Please send proposals, suggestions, or comments by February 8.
Amalia S. Levi
College of Information Studies
University of Maryland
College Park, MD
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