The social media archive is now fully searchable!

16 Jan 2020

MirrorWeb and The National Archives relaunch the Social Media Archive!

Our social media archive is now the first of its kind in the UK to feature a search function, allowing users to easily navigate our growing collection of tweets, Flickr images and YouTube videos from a range of central government departments and arm’s-length bodies.

Through newly-designed access pages, users can now carry out keyword searches and filter results by government department, time period and platform.

The project was a collaboration between The National Archives and MirrorWeb which also involved expanding the number of Twitter and YouTube channels and incorporating images from Flickr for the first time.

All social media content is indexed into Elasticsearch using MirrorWeb’s serverless indexing technology, providing users with a unified full-text search experience across all of the archived social media channels. This allows users to interact with the Social Media Archive in a whole new way by making use of new and advanced filtering capabilities.

John Sheridan, Digital Director at The National Archives, said: “We’re really breaking new ground here, improving public access to an important collection that records the government’s use of social media. As the official archive of government, it is our job to keep and make available the record, whatever form it takes. This social media collection contributes to our understanding of recent events and will be preserved as part of the official public record for generations to come.

“It is important to not only develop new archival practice for what types of records we can preserve, but to improve the ways records can be accessed by the public. With the introduction of the search function, locating relevant social media content in the archive is simpler than ever before.”

The social media archive was launched in 2014 and now has over 877,000 tweets, 119,600 Flickr images and 39,900 YouTube videos. It houses content dating back to 2006 and covers an array of 21st Century milestones including the 2016 EU Referendum and the 2012 London Olympics.

David Clee, CEO at MirrorWeb, said: “Social media has become a primary communication channel for organisations and governments across the world. However, due to the ephemeral nature of the web, content is often removed or deleted as quickly as it appears. We believe capturing and archiving this content is key to preserving our digital history and legacy.

In our latest project with The National Archives, we focused on improving the user experience, enhancing the search and filter capabilities of the archive to ensure the collection is accessible and usable for everyone. We’re truly proud of everything we’ve achieved with the National Archives and continue to look forward to helping them in their mission to preserve and protect our government's digital history.”

The social media archive houses content dating back to 2006. It covers an array of 21st century milestones including the 2016 EU Referendum and the London Olympics in 2012. You can visit the social media archive by clicking here.

To find out more about our projects with The National Archive, take a look at our case study right here click here.

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Topics: Public Sector

Written by MirrorWeb

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