Harnessing the Power of Social Media: Crowdsourcing Acquistions and Marketing Revolutionary Collections at the American University in Cairo

Read “Harnessing the Power of Social Media: Crowdsourcing Acquistions and Marketing Revolutionary Collections at the American University in Cairo.”

Abstract

On January 25, 2011, demonstrators gathered in Egypt’s cities, demanding the resignation of President Husni Mubarak. Egyptians organized themselves through social media outlets; arranging marches and developing political positions on blogs, Facebook, and Twitter. In addition to organizing grassroots campaigns, digital activists have been blogging, posting, and tweeting photos and videos of their experiences for more than a year. In response to Egypt’s so-called “digital revolution,” archivists, oral historians, librarians, students, faculty, staff, and administrators at the American University in Cairo (AUC) developed a plan to document the 18 days of demonstrations in downtown Cairo as well as the continued political activity, trials, and elections.

Graffiti on Mohamed Mahmoud Street

Graffiti on Mohamed Mahmoud Street from the University on the Square: Documenting Egypt’s 21st Century Revolution digital collection. Image courtesy of Sean Graham and the American University in Cairo Rare Books and Special Collections Library.

From the early days demonstrations in January 2011, University on the Square: Documenting Egypt’s 21st Century Revolution project planners recognized the potential use of social media to crowdsource acquisitions and promote use of community-contributed collections. The project strives to document political change in Egypt through photos, videos, interviews, written testimonials, ephemera, scholarship, and Web documents. To accomplish this goal, project coordinators are engaged in an effort to solicit contributions of photographs, videos, and oral history interviews using social media, which includes the University on the Square Facebook app. Archivists and librarians market and advertise collections derived from community contributions in the same online spaces that political activists gather to organize events. By reaching out to Egypt’s bloggers, tweeters, and posters, the University on the Square project gathers resources otherwise lost to digital impermanence and markets collections to new audiences.

Source

Carolyn Runyon, “Crowdsourcing Acquistions and Marketing Revolutionary Collections at the American University in Cairo” (paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Library Association’s Arab Spring and Libraries Session, Anaheim, California, June 24 2012).

Comments Are Closed