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The University Archives collects materials related to the administration and activities of Duke University, and to that end we selectively add web and social media content to our collections. Social media may include services such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The following general principles guide our collecting decisions.
  • We collect materials that fit into the Collecting Policy for Duke University Archives.
  • We gather web and social media related to groups and individuals whose records we collect in the University Archives. This is done in consultation with the donor/transferring office to determine the scope of the social media collection.
  • 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 respect the privacy of individuals who have contributed to social media accounts or used hashtags but did not expect their contributions to be collected and shared by an archival repository. To that end, we restrict access to social media 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 University Archives should contact the University Archivist.

Web Collecting Policy Related to Campus Controversies

In response to controversial incidents on Duke’s campus, the University Archives may choose to collect web-based materials (including websites, blogs, audio, video, and social media) that document reaction to the incident on and off campus. Such materials will be appraised with regard to the significance of the subject matter to Duke University concerns. For those incidents that impact the central administration, more content will be collected than for minor campus issues. In all cases, care will be taken to consider legal and ethical concerns, and to select resources that have statements of attribution.

Tools Used

  • We use Archive-It (a service of the Internet Archive) and Conifer (a service of 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 via Archive-It is publicly available at and /rubenstein/findingaids/uawebarchive/. Relevant links will also be included in collection guides and/or catalog records.
  • Other collections may be requested for use in the Rubenstein Library reading room. Description of these collections will be added to collection guides and/or catalog records.
  • 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.