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Death, memorialization, and social media: A platform perspective for personal archives

Acker, A and Brubaker, JR (2014) Death, memorialization, and social media: A platform perspective for personal archives. Archivaria (77). 1 - 23. ISSN 0318-6954

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This article examines the memorialization and bereavement practices of social media users as they relate to the creation, access, and circulation of personal archives. As personal archives expand to include content created and stored on social media platforms, it is incumbent upon archivists and individual archive creators to consider how access to user profiles, personal collections, and continued interaction with profiles of the deceased are shaped and affected by platform functionalities. Because platforms govern how users are represented in systems, they also shape the contexts of creation and future access to personal information. There exist representational and access limits in these platforms because social media data rely on networked resources for contextual integrity, which raises questions about the ongoing management of personal information after a user has died. The authors present interview data that suggest social media users consider profiles to be personal archives despite evidence that platform functionality may heavily restrict future access and the ability to memorialize collections or add layers of context after a creator has died. The authors argue that, when theorizing and building personal archives, archivists as well as individual creators should adopt a platform perspective that includes preserving the contextual integrity of networked data, confronting shifts in the persistence of platforms, and clarifying archival expectations to provide access to personal collections created with social media platforms.


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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Acker, Aaacker@pitt.eduAACKER
Brubaker, JR
Date: 1 January 2014
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Journal or Publication Title: Archivaria
Number: 77
Page Range: 1 - 23
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Information Sciences > Library and Information Science
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0318-6954
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2014 16:15
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2019 16:55


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