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Archiving social media at the British Library

September 20, 2021 | Debbie Turner

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Archiving social media at the British Library

It seems that the British Library is questioning whether to archive social media in a similar way to how it currently archives print material. The 400 year-old establishment is currently looking into the worth of keeping public Twitter Feeds, Facebook and blog entries for posterity and as the US Library of Congress decided to start archiving public Twitter accounts back in April it’s pushed the issue to the fore.

At the Independent Woodstock Literary Festival the chief executive of the British Library, Dame Lynne Brindley, spoke about the issue and made the point that many old trade and fashion magazines and other ephemera that was once considered less valuable ‘everyday material’ by the British Library have become very important in looking at changes in social and cultural history, according to the New Statesman sourced from The Independent.

Dame Brindley said, “How far should you think about collecting and preserving social media such as Twitter, blogs, and forms we have not yet even discovered.” The question is intriguing and it has to be said that many print archives that people once considered worthless are now often invaluable in keeping track of history, so why should that be any different to forms of social media.

For more on this go to What do you think of plans for the British Library to archive social media? We’d be interested to hear your views about this so please do send in your comments.

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  1. It will be interesting to see how this goes. I have not been too impressed with's usability and it will be interesting to see how they will make the archive available to the public.

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