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Social Media Collecting Policy

UCSF Archives and Special Collections collects data from social media accounts of individuals, organizations, or other groups who are donating or transferring their materials to the Archives as part of a formal collection acquisition. Archives does not collect social media accounts that are unaffiliated with a formal collection acquisition. All donors who are transferring records to the UCSF Archives must complete a Records Transfer form or a Deed of Gift with the University Archivist, and in addition any donor of social media account data must complete the Social Media Donation form.

Archives collects social media by requesting that donors or transferrers download a copy of the data for their accounts, and transfer the resulting data file (usually in zip format — i.e. “”) to the archives as a digital transfer. Instructions can be found on Donating Your Social Media.

Archives ingests data from social media accounts at time of collections transfer, and does not set up ongoing account captures for social media accounts. Individuals or organizations wishing to facilitate ongoing transfer of their social media content should set up a schedule to periodically download their account data and transfer an updated accession to UCSF Archives.

Access to social media content in Archives collections will be provided through access to the data in the .zip file supplied to the Archives. Please note that this means that the social media account will not be viewable in the same way as it would on the live and open web.

Data downloaded from a social media account often contains information that users may not have expected to be included, especially content such as the user’s private direct messages with other users, the user’s engagement activity with advertisements on the service, and the user’s IP address and other identifying info for their account and devices used to manage the account. UCSF Archives has established default actions in regards to this potentially sensitive data, and requires the donor or transferrer to either opt-in or opt-out for the preservation and access to certain historically valuable categories of data.

Potentially sensitive data may be included in download file, and UCSF Archives retention policy for each type: