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General Study Research Proposal Web 2.0/Social Media
Version 1.2, May 2010

Background and Rationale for Study
Social networking systems are defined as Web based services that utilize social software, allowing users to create profiles, interact, share and communicate information. Social media is defined as “a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content.” 1 Coined by Tim O’Reilly, the term Web 2.0 is commonly associated with the Internet and refers to an integrated and dynamic service platform that is highly interactive and facilitates content generated by interconnected user communities utilizing Web applications that allow interoperability, collaboration and information sharing. At least one of the TEAM Canada case studies is currently examining the preservation of social media content―CS09: AMS: Policies and Procedures for Web site Preservation―in relation to its Facebook page. Additionally, other TEAM Canada test-bed participants have mentioned the use of social media tools within their institutions. The adoption of social media tools to conduct business activities is on the rise and the use of these tools and technologies poses significant challenges for records management and long-term preservation. In June 2008, a survey was conducted of 1,988 executives from across the globe on their company’s business use of Web 2.0 technologies. It found that Web 2.0 technologies are having a fundamental effect on the way that companies are operating and how they are creating and utilizing information. “As Web 2.0 gains traction, it could transform the way companies organize and manage themselves, leading to what some have dubbed Enterprise 2.0.” 2 According to the study’s authors, “companies are not only using more [Web 2.0] technologies but also leveraging

1 Andreas M. Kaplan and Michael Haenlein (2010), “Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media,” Business Horizons 53 (1): 59-68. 2 Jacques Bughin, James Manyika and Andy Miller (2008), “Building the Web 2.0 Enterprise: McKinsey Global Survey Results,” The McKinsey Quarterly (July): 7. Available at http://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Building_the_Web_20_Enterprise_McKinsey_Global_Survey_2174.

InterPARES 3 Project, TEAM Canada

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General Study Research Proposal: Web 2.0/Social Media, v1.1

May 2010

them to change management practices and organizational structures,” 3 indicating the potential for companies to be utilizing these Web 2.0 technologies for the creation of records. To understand the importance of the possible implications of social media for records creation and archives, one need only look to the recent announcement that the Library of Congress will be archiving all public tweets since Twitter launched in 2006.4 Commenting on the announcement, David S. Ferriro the Archivist of the Unites States posted to his blog: In the world of electronic records, this is a historic announcement. In my first post, I said “electronic records are now a fundamental part of our documentary record.” The donation of billions of tweets to the Library of Congress is a profound example of the changing fabric of our records. 5 Not only is what Ferriro said important, but how he said it, through his blog “AOTUS: Collector in Chief,” is also worth examination. The evolution of the Web to Web 2.0 and the tools and technologies of social media are contributing to the “changing fabric of records” and records creation and requires further investigation in order to understand contemporary record creating practices and the potential implications for archival and records management theory and practice. With the adoption of Web 2.0 and social media tools and technologies in the creation of records, the potential exists for organizations to cede internal control over the records management process and storage of...
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