#SMArchiving: International Workshop on Social Media Archiving at Hypertext 2015

Insight News Lab is co-organising a workshop on Social Media Archiving at the 26th ACM Hypertext and Social Media Conference, taking place 1-4 September 2015 at the Middle East Technical University, Northern Cyprus Campus.

The workshop focuses on the archiving and annotation of content produced on social media, and builds on our work on the Social Repository of Ireland Project, conducted with the Digital Repository of Ireland. This is a multidisciplinary workshop, which will stimulate an exchange of ideas between research and industry, including the domains of news media, digital archiving and preservation, social network analysis, semantic web and linked data, communication studies and cultural studies.

The exponential growth of social media as a central communication practice has changed the information landscape. Social media is agile when it comes to breaking news, and expansive in its ability to document social events from a wider variety of voices than traditional media. From a news media perspective, social media has been adopted as a significant source by professional journalists, and conversely, citizens are able to use social media as a form of direct reportage. Broadly, social media content now forms a significant part of the digital content generated every day, and provides a platform for voices that would not reach the broader public through traditional journalistic media alone. In this emerging environment, citizen microblogs and other user generated content constitute an important part of history and popular memory, in particular when attempting to capture significant events and the varied perspectives that accompany these events.

The flow of citizen generated reporting through social media is ephemeral and disordered; it quickly becomes inaccessible if not captured and stored in an organised fashion. This is in contrast to traditional journalism, which has well-developed archival practices, enabling researchers to reuse and rediscover content. If social media is not preserved, or if it is preserved without careful attention to subsequent access and discoverability, there is a risk of losing the diversity this rich social narrative contributes to traditional news media, and more broadly, to our socio-cultural record. Therefore, this new landscape calls for technologies and methodologies to:

1) Rapidly and efficiently capture, filter and verify content in a way that generates immediate value for journalistic and research purposes;

2) Properly annotate and archive this information for longer-term preservation;

3) Provide access to archived social media for scholarly research, and for reuse in the news life-cycle (e.g. for contextualisation, investigative reporting or comprehensive storytelling.)

This workshop addresses a variety of research questions from both theoretical and pragmatic perspectives. For example, what technologies can we use for filtering, aggregating and contextualising social media content? How can we assess the veracity of social media content and sources? What moral, legal, and ethical issues arise in social media archiving? What are the methodological considerations in organising and interpreting the social media ‘record’ of an event? What data models should be employed for archiving and preservation, and how should metadata be structured? What does this record contribute to our larger understanding of communication and media? How can rigorous archiving and preservation of social media help researchers and journalists in their work on social movements, citizen engagement, political events, and network formation? 

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Social media archiving and annotation
  • Metadata for social media archiving
  • The role of user generated content in the news production life-cycle
  • Citizen Journalism and the Archive
  • Veracity, trust and provenance of social media sources and content
  • Event and topic detection and clustering
  • Social network and community analysis
  • Semantic Web and Linked Data technologies for archival, discovery and enrichment of social media content
  • Story curation, contextualisation and recommendation
  • Ethical challenges in archiving and broadcasting social media content

Important Dates:

Paper submission: 12 June 2015
Notification to authors: 10 July 2015
Camera-ready: 17 July 2015
Workshop date: 1 September 2015

A Call for Papers has been issued, and submissions are due 12 June 2015. All papers are peer-reviewed. For more information, see the Workshop website:

For more information on the conference as a whole, please visit the Hypertext 2015 conference website.

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