Saving our Social Media

I thought that I’d share a little of the research that I have done lately in preserving web pages and social media pages, such as Facebook and Twitter.
I might be a little behind with this, so forgive me if you have already looked at this issue. And if you have any better ideas, I would love to have them!

More and more our communications and demonstration of support of the mission statement are tied up with these media so we should at least be preserving a snapshot of the sites to represent the IBVM’s presence on the web and the message and responses that are being communicated – even the one that I am using now. This, surely, is an important part of the corporate memory, particularly if the website contains the only copy of an important record or is evidence of corporate activity. Much has been written about the preservation of web sources, of course, but I was after an easy, cheap solution that I could implement without much IT support.

First thing is deciding what to preserve and as a snapshot is one way to preserve these ever changing media, then how often should this be taken? They are only worth saving if they are providing unique resources. I would like to be able to take an annual snapshot of our website and at least the Facebook page as an example of the public interface of the organisation.

A few ways of preservation, although not perfect, would seem to be useful. The first is simply capturing the pages as PDF. This at least preserves the content and style of the pages, although not the functionality, of course. It is also rather time consuming as you have to go into each page and sub page to capture.

Another easy way is to rely on the Internet Archives ( also known as the ‘Wayback Machine’ which is a not for profit enterprise which gathers and preserves websites with web crawlers. This is rather random but if you subscribe, you can submit a website for inclusion. The functionality of the website is largely maintained although links are broken. There is the issue with this in that we do not hold custody of the legacy websites and there is no guarantee that the funding of this project will be permanent.

Another possibility are state library programs – such as the National Library of Australia’s PANDORA website preservation, or the British Library’s UK Web Archives. These are selective but it may be possible to nominate a website for inclusion.

There is also the option of contracting out the capture and preservation. There are various companies which specialise in this and I have investigated a couple.
Ken Archiving Platform or will archive web sites and social media sites for a fee. They will archive sites as frequently as needed.
Another commercial provider is PageFreezer which provides the same sort of service.
The advantage of this option is that it is professionally done to standards which captures the appropriate metadata for preservation.

So, that is the extent of the solutions that I have found so far but, as I said, any help would be gratefully received!

Robin Scott
Province Archives, IBVM Australian Province