Tweets to be archived for history
About a month ago I wrote how much of our digital records were being lost to history, http://tinyurl.com/y4xlasv. For that reason I was very pleased to read that Twitter are donating their digital archive of public tweets to the Library of Congress.
This archive is not an insignificant amount of data. It is suggested that some 50 million tweets are sent every day, from people around the world. Twitter are going to donate all public tweets since Twitter started in 2006, to the present. This will be several billion tweets. They include the first ever tweet, from the company’s co-founder and the tweet posted by President Obama about winning the election. This move is very much in line with the Library’s record of gathering the accounts of ordinary individuals throughout their history.
The Library has been collecting materials from the web since it began harvesting congressional and presidential campaign websites in 2000. Today the Library holds more than 167 terabytes of web-based information, including legal blogs, websites of candidates for national office and websites of Members of Congress. In addition, the Library leads the congressionally mandated National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program http://www.digitalpreservation.gov, which is pursuing a national strategy to collect, preserve and make available significant digital content, especially information that is created in digital form only, for current and future generations.
They are to be applauded for their efforts, and lets hope that other national libraries are doing the same, or much of our history stored in digital format will be lost forever.