Back in February we announced MITH’s involvement in the Documenting the Now project, which is now under way. In a nutshell, Documenting the Now is an effort to build an application called DocNow, that helps researchers and archivists collect Web content about current events using Twitter. The project is also about building a community and a conversation about what it means to ethically engage in the work of social media and Web archiving. We thought we would provide a quick update about our recent work, and where you can go to learn more.
Since the project is a partnership between MITH, Washington University in St Louis and the University of California at Riverside we have established a project site on Medium where all team members can share information about their work, and we can get feedback from others who are interested in the project. While you can expect to see occasional updates about Documenting the Now here on the MITH blog, please follow us there if you are interested in seeing all the developments as they happen.
Speaking of the team we recently announced the initial group of staff and contractors who will be helping on the project. Washington University hired Desiree Jones-Smith, who started in April as the Project Coordinator for Documenting the Now. One exciting thing that Desiree will be focused on is planning our face-to-face event in St Louis, where the core team, advisory board members, and others interested in the project will gather to explore the design and ethical issues in the DocNow application. Look out here and on our project website to hear more about that event in the coming weeks.
Also joining the team are three contractors: Alexandra Dolan-Mescal, Francis Kayiwa and Dan Chudnov. Alexandra is gathering requirements and designing the user experience of the DocNow application. Francis is designing the backend infrastructure with an eye towards containerization and cloud deployment. Dan is architecting and implementing the data analysis pipeline and visualization pieces that form a foundation of the application. If you are interested in tracking this work you can follow us over on GitHub where we will be coordinating the software development.
The Documenting the Now team is spread across the country so we needed to find a virtual environment where we can share day to day information about the work. Of course we all use email, but having a place to share documents, have conversations and see relevant news in a shared space was important to us. And of course a big part of the project is having an open conversation about the technical and ethical considerations of social media archiving. That’s why we’ve started using a team on Slack. The Documenting the Now Slack is also open to people who are interested in the project and the work of social media archiving in general. To join Slack you need to use this form to submit a request. We hope to see you there!
And if that isn’t enough you can subscribe for the DocNow Newsletter over at docnow.io.