Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Library of Congress to Archive Twitter Posts

The Library of Congress announced this week that they are planning to archive all public tweets posted to Twitter. I can understand the desire to capture a slice of life during the early twenty-first century - future researchers will love the chance to see how we all communicated with each other and what we talked about. However, the sheer scope of the project blows my mind. If there aren't billions of tweets yet, there will be soon. I don't know how exactly the tweets will be archived - Twitter is donating their collection, but what happens if Twitter ever disappears? What happens to deleted tweets? Will they be preserved, or will they end up deleted from the archive? What will the archives look like? How will you search it? The Internet is such an ephemeral phenomenon; any blog, tweet, social networking post, website, photo, news article, etc. can be deleted at any time. Future researchers looking into common life and communication methods might find a big hole from the year 2000 on. Still, it's fascinating to think that some part of the Internet will be preserved.

If you want to read more about the Library of Congress project, check out these websites:

The Library of Congress is at twitter.com/librarycongress if you want to follow them.

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