Archival Science

, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 95–124 | Cite as

Personal documentation on a social network site: Facebook, a collection of moments from your life?

  • Donghee SinnEmail author
  • Sue Yeon Syn
Original Paper


Social networking on the Web has become very popular in recent years. Used by more than 950 million people worldwide, Facebook is one of the most popular of these services. One interesting aspect of Facebook is that users can converse through various formats, including wall posts, photographs, Web links, music, and video clips of stories and interests surrounding their daily lives. This phenomenon raises an important question for archivists in regard to personal history on the Web: What are the new ways that contemporary people document their life stories? This study looks at Facebook activities from the perspectives of personal documentation. Using an online survey, this study investigates how Facebook content presents users themselves and their everyday stories, whether they perceive their activities of using Facebook as personal documentation, and what factors influence such activities. The findings of this study show the current status of Facebook usage. Facebook content indeed indicates information of self-presentation and personal documentation of everyday lives of users. Attitudes about and activeness on Facebook are the major factors that influence self-presentation and personal documentation activities on Facebook. Generic external factors, such as personal archiving in general, do not show strong associations with personal documentation activities as factors. Based on this understanding, we discuss the roles of information professionals and cultural heritage institutions in dealing with a new type of personal record on the Web.


Facebook Social network sites Personal documentation Self-presentation Personal digital archiving Factors for personal documentation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Information StudiesUniversity at Albany (State University of New York)AlbanyUSA
  2. 2.School of Library and Information ScienceCatholic University of AmericaWashingtonUSA

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