An Argument for Archiving Facebook as a Heterogeneous Personal Store Conference Paper uri icon


  • 2014 IEEE. A decade ago, the locus of activity for our digital belongings - photos, email, videos, documents, and the like - was on our personal computers. Now the situation is different. Not only is personal media born-digital, it may also spend its entire life stored online in social media services and cloud stores, and locally on portable devices. Studies have revealed that most people lack the requisite skills to archive their digital belongings, regardless of where they are stored; furthermore people value the context offered by these large-scale, socially intertwined online stores. So why not archive the contents of a major social media service like Facebook to ensure the permanence of a meaningful portion of peoples' personal digital belongings? Rather than being delighted by this idea, participants in a study of digital ownership have expressed squeamishness about institutional efforts to archive social media: Facebook is not only viewed as private and vulnerable to violations of content ownership, but also as lacking long-term value. However, measures such as data embargoes, aggregation, and permissions mitigate participants' fears and objections to some extent. In this paper, we will use an example of biographical research, coupled with the results of a recent study, to argue that Facebook should be archived by a public institution.

name of conference

  • IEEE/ACM Joint Conference on Digital Libraries

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Marshall, C. C., & Shipman, F. M.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Marshall, Catherine C||Shipman, Frank M

publication date

  • January 2014