08 Jan Twitter Reaches New Heights – @LibraryOfCongress #Archive
In April of 2010, The United States Library of Congress signed a deal to gain unrestricted access to all public tweets since 2006. Since that deal was made, 170 Billion tweets have been archived by the library. The question now is how to make this resource available to researchers, institutions, and the public?
The Social Source
When I was in grade school, information from the internet was the weakest “credible” source of information for research. My how things have changed since then. Yesterday I saw that Wikipedia, a socially edited encyclopedia, is now the number 5 trafficked website in the world, with over 500 Million views per month! Long ago, I failed a term paper because of using an internet source as my primary reference, now we live in a completely different world.
The Library of Congress is very aware of this shift, and they have started cataloging and archiving social media sources in an attempt to capture, analyze, and preserve some of this data. I wonder what the founding fathers would have tweeted about this, “@GeorgeWashington Knowledge is power. #Freedom #EnglandSucks ” Maybe not… but the prevalence of twitter and other social media websites has really changed the landscape of the information age.
The Future is Unknown
Gayle Osterberg, director of communications for The L.O.C. made the following statements in a blog post. “Twitter is a new kind of collection for the Library of Congress but an important one to its mission. As society turns to social media as a primary method of communication and creative expression, social media is supplementing, and in some cases supplanting, letters, journals, serial publications and other sources routinely collected by research libraries.”
Osterberg reported in his post that the library has archived all of the tweets it currently has and is working on how to present them to the public. The library has received hundreds of requests from researchers all over the world who want to use this data in some way or the other. I look forward to one day seeing how all of this plays out.
While we are on the subject, follow us on twitter @WordWizardsInc !