Digital Documents, Histories and Archives in the 21st century


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Digital Documents, Histories and Archives in the 21st century

  1. 1. Digital documents,histories, and archives inthe 21st centuryTiffany Chao & Claudia Serbanuta21 September 2012, Archives, history and politics in Romania during the XIX-XXIcenturies
  2. 2. Overview2  The archival space  Information communication in the digital age: emergence of social media use  Case: PMAN archive  Short documents as archival documents  Future directions: a growing community of practice
  3. 3. Changes in the archives 3 Shift in archival collection: hybrid format  collections Analog Digitized Born-digital  Shift in archival practice Increased community-based and personal digital archiving effortsGutenberg bible image ( jpg); ‘September 11 Digital Archive’ screenshot (; H.R.Tibbo, ‘On the Nature and Importance of Archiving in the Digital Age,’ Advances in Computers, vol. 57 (2003), 1-67.
  4. 4. The digital information world 4  New technologies contribute to ubiquitous information distribution  Information is dynamic: instantaneously created and changed  Influenced the rise of social media applications to coordinate and communicate across geographic barriers  Social media space  Low barrier to use  Popularity amongst research scholars in use and studyMason, R., & Rennie, F. (2007). Using Web 2.0 for learning in the community. The Internet and higher education, 10(3), 196–203.; Java, A., Song, X., Finin, T., & Tseng, B. (2007). Why we twitter: understanding microbloggingusage and communities. Proceedings of the 9th WebKDD and 1st SNA-KDD 2007 workshop on Web mining and social network analysis (pp. 56–65).;Caron, Daniel J. and  Richard Brown. “The Documentary Moment in the Digital Age: Establishing New ValuePropositions for Public Memory.” Archivaria 71.; Costello, K.L., & Priem, J. (2011). Archiving scholars’ tweets. Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Society of American Archivists Research Forum. Chicago, IL: Society of American Archivists, 2011.
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  6. 6. Social media output: new archival documents?6  Short documents (i.e. microblog content)  Brief text phrases  Embedded metadata  Abundant in number  Active documentation  Why are these short documents worth preserving over time? …PMAN Archive Bermingham, A., & Smeaton, A. F. (2010). Classifying sentiment in microblogs: is brevity an advantage? Proceedings of the 19th ACM international conference on Information and knowledge management (pp. 1833–1836). Retrieved from;
  7. 7. PMAN Archive7  April 7, 2009 Piata Marii Adunari Nationale in Chisinau - #PMAN on Twitter  In 4 days, 24,052 short messages with the ‘#pman’ tag were posted by ~1,851 users  ~42MB of XML data Twitter user: @evisoft
  8. 8. 8 Twitter users: @evisoft. @zerolab, @T1bbi, @panaba
  9. 9. PMAN Archive (contd.)9  One event captured from multiple perspectives  Protesters from Chisinau  International observers  Romanian speaking observers  Western media  Romanian media  Romanian cultural references surface in these documents  1989 Revolution
  10. 10. The value of short documents10  Illuminate numerous individual perspectives regarding societal topics, events, issues, etc.  Limited narrative by traditional media outlets  Recognize trends and patterns in behavior and attitudes through analytical tools  Provide context through layers of embedded information  Presence of hyperlinks, tags etc.  Reveals multi-faceted cultural dimensions
  11. 11. Future Directions11 Consider expanding Activist Archivists (; Archive-It (;  collection scope and policies for archival materials to include Library of Congress( digital short documents  Build collaborations with partner institutions  Grow awareness of born-digital collections and practices
  12. 12. 12 Thank you! Tiffany Chao (tchao @ Claudia Șerbănuță (cserban2 @