Library of Congress To Archive Your Twit - The UpStream

Library of Congress To Archive Your Twit

posted Sunday Apr 18, 2010 by Jon Wurm

Library of Congress To Archive Your Twit

In the past the LOC has turned its attention to the web starting in 2000 with archiving presidential campaign websites and now it looks to capture your tweets, all of them. They are looking to record every single tweet since the first one written by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey in 2006. Anyone who has ever used Twitter is aware that the majority of tweets are simply 140 characters or less of disappointment but there are some tweets with historical value like the one President Obama made after winning the 2008 election and the tweets from James Buck, the photojournalist arrested in Egypt. Interestingly enough the LOC is interested in all the tweets because the generally accepted views on historicism in academic circles are changing. The goal is to start recording history that does not involve proper novels and publications but the stories, thoughts, feelings, and mind set that a variety of different people during a specific time had in order to capture a more broad and accurate picture of the reality. Undertakings like this do pose problems for the LOC to overcome but this is necessary if they wish to achieve their goal of being the go to place for important historical information stored in a digital format, or as Matt Raymond, a official LOC blogger put it,

In other words, if you're looking for a place where important historical and other information in digital form should be preserved for the long haul, we're it!

The LOC currently has 167TB of Web data in its archives.

On a personal note, I dislike Twitter with a passion but I think the LOC has the right idea. Especially since the evolution of the Web and technology has presented them with the opportunity to move into the future of information gathering and referencing. Plus lets face it, there are only room for so many books in that place. On the flip side, it's possible these Tweets could be used against you at work, in your personal life, or in a court of law now that they are permanent public records.


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