API-based social media collecting as a form of web archiving

  • Justin Littman
  • Daniel Chudnov
  • Daniel Kerchner
  • Christie Peterson
  • Yecheng Tan
  • Rachel Trent
  • Rajat Vij
  • Laura Wrubel

DOI: 10.1007/s00799-016-0201-7

Cite this article as:
Littman, J., Chudnov, D., Kerchner, D. et al. Int J Digit Libr (2016). doi:10.1007/s00799-016-0201-7


Social media is increasingly a topic of study across a range of disciplines. Despite this popularity, current practices and open source tools for social media collecting do not adequately support today’s scholars or support building robust collections for future researchers. We are continuing to develop and improve Social Feed Manager (SFM), an open source application assisting scholars collecting data from Twitter’s API for their research. Based on our experience with SFM to date and the viewpoints of archivists and researchers, we are reconsidering assumptions about API-based social media collecting and identifying requirements to guide the application’s further development. We suggest that aligning social media collecting with web archiving practices and tools addresses many of the most pressing needs of current and future scholars conducting quality social media research. In this paper, we consider the basis for these new requirements, describe in depth an alignment between social media collecting and web archiving, outline a technical approach for effecting this alignment, and show how the technical approach has been implemented in SFM.


Social media Web archiving Archives Data collection - Twitter 

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
National Historical Publications and Records Commission
  • NARDI-14-50017-14

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.GW LibrariesThe George Washington UniversityWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.District Data LabsWashingtonUSA

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