Use of Social Media Platforms for Increased Access and Visibility by the Botswana National Archives and Records Services

Use of Social Media Platforms for Increased Access and Visibility by the Botswana National Archives and Records Services

Tshepho Lydia Mosweu (University of Botswana, Botswana)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7429-3.ch010

Abstract

This chapter discusses the use of social media platforms for increased access and visibility by the Botswana National Archives and Records Services (BNARS). A qualitative research approach is used to illuminate efforts to use social media for marketing archival services by BNARS, and to closely analyze the benefits and challenges embedded in the use of social media for marketing and outreach by archival institutions. This chapter also draws inferences from the study and proffers recommendations. Primary data was collected through interviews of archivists who manage BNARS social media pages while secondary data was derived from documentary and content analysis. The study reveals that while BNARS was visible to users and potential users online, the legal and policy framework was found to be lacking. Challenges associated with the use of social media pertained to issues of privacy, security, data management as well as policy and the legal framework. The chapter adds literature on advocacy, promotion, and public programming by archival institutions in the digital era.
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Contextual Setting

Archival institutions are essentially information resource providers. They provide access to archives and records that show the economic, political and social development of their nations. As one of such institutions, the Department of Botswana National Archives and Records Services (BNARS) holds records that depict the development of the country from the colonial era to the post- independence elected government of the people. The records that captured the activities of the colonial power are now used for reference purposes by the public. Part II, Section 3A of the National Archives and Records Services Act of 1978 as amended in 2007 gives the National Archives and Records Services the mandate to provide records and information management service to government agencies; and to collect, preserve and make access to the nation's documentary heritage (National Archives and Records Services Act 1978).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Archives: Records which have been preserved for their enduring value.

Archival Institution: An organization that collects the records of individuals, families, or other organizations for preservation and future access.

Social media: Online communications channels dedicated to community-based input, interaction, content-sharing and collaboration.

Facebook: Social networking site that allows users to interact with other users.

Social Media Platforms: Web-based technologies that enables the development, deployment and management of social media solutions and services.

Public Programming: Consented activities designed to enable interaction between an archival institution and its users.

Social Networking: The use of dedicated applications and websites to interact with other users of the same interests.

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