Along with creating a tool to capture social media posts for research purposes, the Social Feed Manager team has sought to identify key policy issues which should be considered before collecting or providing access to collections of social media. Seemantani Sharma, a recent graduate of George Washington University’s Law School, conducted legal and policy research as background for this project.
This resource, “Legal and Ethical Issues of Social Media Collecting: Annotated Bibliography”, represents a part of her work with the Social Feed Manager project team. This bibliography provides a resource for those interested in using social media as a research tool or for cultural heritage institutions interested in creating collections of social media for use by future researchers. The aim of this bibliography is to direct others to resources for understanding legal and ethical issues they will possibly encounter. This bibliography does not constitute legal advice. In case you missed it, the team has also written Building Social Media Archives: Collection Development Guidelines as guidance in thinking through a social media archiving program.
This bibliography is just the tip of the iceberg–there is a lot available to read, and we weren’t aiming to be comprehensive. There are many people working to bring particular attention to ethical and legal aspects of social media collecting and archiving. See the good work of the DocNow project, especially. We also encourage those interested in doing this work to look at the annotated bibliography by North Carolina State University Libraries, created as part of the Social Media Archives Toolkit. Finally, there is a growing literature within particular disciplines and within the social media research community, much of which has relevance to research and archiving of social media.