On April 14, the Library of Congress announced that it would be creating a digital archive of every public tweet since Twitter’s inception in 2006. Twitter had its own announcement about the deal as well.
The National Archives weighs in, using the announcement as an opportunity to explain how the Archives differs from the Library of Congress.
Nate Anderson at ars technica talked to Martha Anderson, the director of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program and got her take on the potential research value of an archive of public tweets, in the aggregate. The ars technica piece also discusses some of the challenges, such as how to deal with short URLs and links to pictures.
One key piece of information that might quell some people’s initial “this is creepy” reaction is this:
After “long discussions with Twitter over this,” Anderson and other LoC officials agreed to take on the data with a few conditions: it would not be released as a single public file or exposed through a search engine, but offered as a set only to approved researchers.
The whole deal has me thinking that universities need to start developing social media archiving plans. We will be interviewing candidates soon for our University Archivist position, and I think I’ll ask them their thoughts on archiving the Stanford University Facebook page and Twitter account.