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The David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library (RL) collects materials related to its research centers and other areas of collecting strength, and to that end we selectively add captures of websites and social media content to our collections. Social media may include services such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The following principles guide our collecting decisions.

  • We gather websites and social media related to organizations and individuals whose archives, manuscripts, and print materials we collect in the Rubenstein Library. This is done in consultation with the donor, donating organization, or transferring office to determine the appropriate scope of the web and social media collection.
  • We will occasionally collect materials through shared hashtags or other means of aggregation, in order to preserve conversations on topics of importance to Rubenstein Library collections.
  • Some social media platforms are difficult or impossible to collect due to the structure of the service. Because social media services are changing constantly, we cannot guarantee we will be able to collect all materials on any social media platform on an ongoing basis.
  • We collect social media in compliance with the terms of service of the individual platforms.
  • We collect social media in accordance with industry best practices.
  • We respect the privacy of individuals who have contributed to social media accounts or used hashtags but did not or could not expect their contributions to be collected and shared by an archival repository. To that end, we will make attempts to obscure contributors or restrict access to collections where we believe privacy may be a concern of contributors.
  • Individuals who have concerns about the collection of social media or websites for the Rubenstein Library should contact us.

Tools Used

  • We use Archive-It (a service of the Internet Archive), twarc, and Twitter Archive Google Service (TAGS) to collect websites and social media.
  • For social media services, we primarily attempt to collect content, and may not be able to capture the original look and feel of individual services.
  • As web content and social media platforms change, we will investigate new ways of collecting this content.

Researcher Access

  • Web content collected by Rubenstein Library via Archive-It is publicly available at and described via the collection guides or catalog records for the relevant collection.
  • Websites and social media content acquired via other tools may be requested for use in the Rubenstein Library reading room. Some of this content may also be available via the Duke Digital Repository, if allowed by the platform’s terms of service. Description of these records will be added to collection guides and/or catalog records, akin to other born-digital records held in the Rubenstein.
  • Due to changes and variation in the terms of service of individual platforms, access to collected social media may be restricted.
  • Due to donor request or privacy concerns, some collections may be restricted for a period of time, or have contributor names obscured.