As social media becomes a more widely used tool to achieve the goal of connecting students to special collections and archival materials in academic libraries, how well – and how correctly – a platform like Facebook is used can make or break that goal.
In an article about how to use Facebook to highlight history, the head of special collections at the University of Nevada, Reno, shares her story about a project she launched to connect students to local history with Facebook profiles of alumni from a century ago. It was in response to a proposal last year to close special collections because it received lower traffic than other areas of the library. After Facebook profiles were created and enriched with materials from the school’s special collections, Facebook shut them down, citing violation of the site’s Terms of Service.
This story does have a happy ending. The alums are back online as Facebook pages under a new page for UNR’s special collections. And some social media wisdom was learned. ArchiveGrid can also help bring more people to history, by being able to search the school’s finding aids describing collections containing some materials Facebook visitors get to see, and more.