PDA 2012: Day 2 Keynote by Cathy Marshall

Happy Friday! It is Day 2 of Personal Digital Archiving 2012 and first up we have the keynote by Cathy Marshall of Microsoft Research: “Whose Content is it Anyway? User Perspectives on Archiving Social Media.” Let’s see what she has to say on user’s perspective on archiving social media.

Discussing the issues around reuse of images on the Internet. Lots of reuse of materials on the Internet, especially images. Many people don’t even attribute when they use images, even if they can legally use them under Creative Commons (which is bad). Social norms have developed around reuse because people ignore laws, market share, and the architecture around reusing (using Lessig’s “jelly bean” diagram).

So we are left with social norms. Did a study of user behaviors around using and reusing images.

“Everyone” believes that you can keep anything you find online. “It’s yours.” [No wonder I have a hard time explaining fair use and copyright to my students.]

People seem to be able to justify any use and reuse of images. Many feel that everything on the web is in the public domain and don’t have any conception of copyright. People feel differently about reusing different types of media. People are very liberal in their reuse of images. People worried more about reusing other people’s reviews versus other people’s photographs.

People worry about manipulating images and reviews in ways that are mean-spirited. Feelings are important to take into account when reusing materials.

Factors that influence social norms: personal experience, media type, perception of misuse or harm done, and mis/understanding of copyright.

Making a case for institutional archives [umm….institutional archives are quite old. Let’s see what she means by this…] She seems to be talking about personal digital archiving instead of institutional archives. Within families, the person interested in archiving and the person interested in technology are often not the same person. People are saving information in many places which makes personal data management more difficult. There is an “overwhelming power of benign neglect” because digital clutter is invisible because “creation is more rewarding than stewardship.”

Therefore, it’s difficult to get people to manage their data. Plus, it is difficult for institutional archives to manage all these digital traces. People aren’t worried about storing social media in institutional archives, they worry about access and reuse. There is a difference between being public in the digital social media landscapes and being archived in public institutional archives.

Looking at people’s perceptions of institutional archives, using the Library of Congress as the prototypical archive. People are okay with immediate access for researchers (researcher was not defined), but people were not okay with immediate public access to social media in institutional archives. People were okay with the general public having access in 50 years.

Implications: people “can’t make a go of it on their own.” Therefore, we need institutional archives to help with preserving social media.

Take Home Message
People are confused (or don’t care) about the correct use and reuse of images they find on the Internet. We need education and also archivists to actually preserve social media. Not really brand new thoughts or findings, but always good to emphasize these issues.