HARVARD: According to an announcement made by the Library of Congress in Washington a little over two years ago, every single post on the social networking website Twitter — more commonly known as a ‘tweet’ — is set to be digitally archived and made available for search in the near future, according to a report by the Nieman Journalism Lab.
While the plan to archive every tweet in the Library of Congress has turned out to be quite an undertaking, the Library plans to make good on its promise. This means that since Twitter’s inception in March 2006, every single tweet uploaded will be archived digitally at the Library of Congress.
According to the latest figures, Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets a day, with the total numbering in the billions. Library Spokeswoman Jennifer Gavin told reporters that the project was still very much in the pipeline. “The process of how to serve it out to researchers is still being worked out, but we’re getting a lot of closer,” she said. “I couldn’t give you a date specific of when we’ll be ready to make the announcement.”
The Library first revealed its plans in a tweet back on April 14 2010, but that was before sorting out the logistics of acquiring that huge amount of data with Twitter. “We began receiving the material, portions of it, last year. We got that system down. Now we’re getting it almost daily,” Gavin said. “And of course, as I think is obvious to anyone who follows Twitter, it has ended up being a very large amount of material.”
Gavin said the archive would be made available to anyone with a library card, but only on the premises in Washington. “My understanding is that at this time we do not intend to make it available by web,” she said. Twitter, meanwhile, has said that the tweets would be used only for “internal library use, for non-commercial research, public display by the library itself, and preservation.”