Library Of Congress To Receive Entire Twitter Archive
December 7, 2011
Federal News Radio
By Michael O’Connell
“You might think twice before tweeting anything controversial about the governemnt. The Library of Congress will have it on-file. In case anything goes down, the powers that be can use the Defense Authorization Act to imprison you without a trial and for virtually no reason.” –KTRN
The Library of Congress and Twitter have signed an agreement that will see an archive of every public Tweet ever sent handed over to the library’s repository of historical documents.
“We have an agreement with Twitter where they have a bunch of servers with their historic archive of tweets, everything that was sent out and declared to be public,” said Bill Lefurgy, the digital initiatives program manager at the library’s national digital information infrastructure and preservation program. The archives don’t contain tweets that users have protected, but everything else — billions and billions of tweets — are there.
Lefurgy joined the Federal Drive with Tom Temin and Amy Morris Tuesday morning to talk about the library’s digital mission.
Using new technical processes it has developed, Twitter is moving a large quantity of electronic data from one electronic source to another. “They’ve had to do some pretty nifty experimentation and invention to develop the tools and a process to be able to move all of that data over to us,” Lefurgy said.
The Library of Congress has long been the repository of important, historical documents and the Twitter library, as a whole, is something historic in itself.
“We were excited to be involved with acquiring the Twitter archives because it’s a unique record of our time,” Lefurgy said. “It’s also a unique way of communication. It’s not so much that people are going to be interested in what you or I had for lunch, which some people like to say on Twitter.”
Researchers will be able to look at the Twitter archive as a complete set of data, which they could then data-mine for interesting information.