Social media archiving at The National Archives
We preserve the social media output of government as it represents an important part of how government communicates online. For the Twitter archive, about 15% of the accounts we’ve archived so far are no longer available on the Twitter service: this means that the web archive is now the only source of this content.
Last year we began working with our new supplier, MirrorWeb. As well as migrating the existing collection, together we have made some big improvements in how we archive the content – including carrying out daily captures to reduce the chance of missing content that is only available for a short time.
We’ve also changed how we present the web archive. The service, relaunched earlier this month, now addresses a number of points raised by our users. They range from performance improvements to displaying enhanced metadata – such as the total number of tweets and videos per account – improving the display of embedded images and videos, incorporating date ranges, and more.
We have also been increasing the number of Twitter and YouTube accounts we’ve been archiving, and the social media archive now contains over 450,000 tweets and over 17,000 videos.
In the future, we plan to include a search tool to improve access to the content; we’ll also explore ways in which we might integrate the social media archive with the rest of the web archive. At the same time, we’re investigating how we can preserve government’s use of other social media services.