Documenting the Now responds to the public's use of social media for chronicling historically significant events as well as demand from scholars, students, and archivists, among others, seeking a user-friendly means of collecting and preserving this type of digital content. Documenting the Now has a strong commitment to prioritizing ethical practices when working with social media content, especially in terms of collection and long-term preservation. This commitment extends to Twitter's notion of honoring user intent and the rights of content creators. The project is a collaborative effort between Shift Collective, the University of Maryland, and the University of Virginia. We are extremely grateful for funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.



We are building a variety of tools to help archivists, activists and researchers work with social media data. Some of these require tech know-how to get running, so please reach out to us on Slack if you are interested in using them, but not sure where to begin. We also publish Design Documents for guiding our development, and would welcome your feedback.

docnow app


Appraise Twitter for archival and research collections.

Tweet Catalog

A catalog of publicly shared tweet ID sets. Add yours!


"Rehydrate" tweet ID sets into tweets with metadata.


Social Humans Labels

Labels for ethically describing and sharing social media data.


Archive Twitter JSON using this command line tool.

Diff Engine

Track changes in news articles through RSS feeds.



As of 2019, Documenting the Now is partnering with activist groups across the United States to run co-learning workshops. Activists share their work, process, and archival needs, the DocNow Workshop Team shares tools and techniques, and together we imagine and build towards better activist community archives. We will add more information on these workshops soon.

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Archivist Supporting Activists

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The Team

Doctor Meredith Clark
Dr. Meredith Clark
Academic Lead, Co-Principal Investigator
Bergis Jules
Bergis Jules
Project Director, Co-Principal Investigator
Trevor Munoz
Trevor Muñoz
Administrative Lead, Principal Investigator
Micha Broadnax
Micha Broadnax
Community Workshop Trainer
Alexandra Dolan-Mescal
Alexandra Dolan-Mescal
UX and Web Designer
Jarrett Drake
Jarrett Drake
Community Workshop Trainer
Francis Kayiwa
Francis Kayiwa
DevOps Engineer
Jes Neal
Jes Neal
Community Workshop Trainer
Ed Summers
Ed Summers
Technical Lead
Raffaele Viglianti
Raff Viglianti
Software Developer
Susan Wiesner
Susan Wiesner
Administrative Coordinator

Thank you to our former team members:
T'Sey-Haye Preaster
(Project Manager 2018-2020)
Vernon Mitchell
(Administrative Lead 2017)
Chris Freeland
(Administrative Lead 2016)
Timothy Cole
(Project Manager 2017)
Desiree Smith-Jones
(Project Manager 2016)
Dan Chudnov
(Data Engineer 2016-2017)


Building a community of practice around social media and Web archiving is one of the most significant aspects to the work we are doing in the Documenting the Now project. Mellon has generously funded us to hold two face-to-face meetings, one in 2016 and another in 2017. These meetings allow us to bring our advisory board together and incorporate live streaming to engage with a larger audience.

March 22-24, 2018 Ethics in Archiving the Web Symposium (New York, NY)
December 11-12, 2017 Digital Blackness in the Archive: A Documenting the Now Symposium (Ferguson/St. Louis, MO)
February 15, 2017 #DocNowCommunity and #SNAPRT Twitter Chat: Ethics and Archiving Social Media: Perspectives from Students and New Archives Professionals
August 21-23, 2016 Advisory Board Meeting at Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Missouri
August 11, 2016 #DocNowCommunity Twitter Chat 2: Social Media Research
July 14, 2016 #DocNowCommunity Twitter Chat 1: Project Introduction


06/2020 Introducing the 2020-21 Data & Society Faculty Fellows: Documenting the Now Co-PI Meredith Clark to work with Data & Society.
06/2020 Archivists Supporting Activists launched by Documenting the Now in the wake of the murder of George Floyd to help coordinate memory work in activist groups who are demanding racial justice.
05/2020 Historical Archives Once Silenced Marginalized Voices. Now Pandemic Archivists Want Them to Be Heard by Marc Parry, The Chronicle of Higher Education.
05/2020 “How Are We Going to Look Back on This Time?” Oral Historians Record Daily Life During COVID-19 by Molly Schwartz, Mother Jones.
04/2020 Documenting COVID-19: a crowd sourced guide to Coronavirus documentation efforts initiated by Documenting the Now.
07/2019 Social Control Zine by Alexandra Dolan-Mescal.
05/2019 Tractar i preservar fons de la web social. by Aniol Maria, Associació d’Arxivers i Gestors de Documents de Catalunya.
05/2019 Designing the Archival Experience of Self and Society by Alexandra Dolan-Mescal, Personal Digital Archiving, 2019.
03/2019 Capturing History, 280 Characters at a Time by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
03/2019 Call for Applications for Community-Based Digital Archives Workshops for Activists by Documenting the Now.
12/2018 Black Twitter 101: What is it? Where did it originate? Where is it Headed? by Whitlaw Read, UVA Today.
12/2018 Preservation Acts: Toward an Ethical Archive by Nora Caplan-Bricker, Harpers Magazine.
10/2018 Community/Capacity Award. Digital Library Federation.
08/2018 Exemplary Service Award. Society of American Archivists.
04/2018 Ethical Considerations for Archiving Social Media Content Generated by Contemporary Social Movements white paper published.
08/2017 Meet the digital librarians saving social media posts to protect human rights. Antony Funnell. Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
08/2017 Human rights and the archiving opportunities and challenges of the digital world. Future Tense.
08/2017 In 100 years, will today's digital files be accessible? Planning for digital obsolescence. St. Louis Public Radio.
01/2017 Digital Spotlight: DocNow, Chronicling Historically Significant Events, American Theological Library Association.
11/2016 Doing Right Online: Archivists Shape an Ethics for the Digital Age, American Historical Association.
07/2016 Universities finding new ways to preserve history in the making – like Ferguson, St. Louis Dispatch.
06/2016 How an Archive of the Internet Could Change History, The New York Times.
05/2016 Documenting the Now Builds Social Media Archive, Library Journal.
03/2016 Archive the Future part II: Documenting the Now, Lost in the Stacks Podcast.
02/2016 Introducing Documenting the Now, Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities.
01/2016 UCR receives $517,000 to collaborate on social media archiving project, The Highlander.
01/2016 Documenting the Now: Archiving Social Media for Generations to Come, WUSTL University Libraries.
05/2015 The Politics Of Archiving #BlackLivesMatter, Baltimore Public Radio.