>The Library of Congress announced Wednesday via its official Twitter feed that it would be adding tweets to its inventory of published works. The addition of the vast body of public tweets sent since Twitter's founding in March 2006 is the latest step in the Library of Congress' effort to incorporate digitally published works into its archives. With an official press release forthcoming, the Library posted a teaser on its blog:
Expect to see an emphasis on the scholarly and research implications of the acquisition. I'm no Ph.D., but it boggles my mind to think what we might be able to learn about ourselves and the world around us from this wealth of data. And I'm certain we'll learn things that none of us now can possibly conceive.
Just a few examples of important tweets in the past few years include the first-ever tweet from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey (http://twitter.com/jack/status/20), President Obama's tweet about winning the 2008 election (http://twitter.com/barackobama/status/992176676), and a set of two tweets from a photojournalist who was arrested in Egypt and then freed because of a series of events set into motion by his use of Twitter (http://twitter.com/jamesbuck/status/786571964) and (http://twitter.com/jamesbuck/status/787167620). ...
So if you think the Library of Congress is "just books," think of this: The Library has been collecting materials from the web since it began harvesting congressional and presidential campaign websites in 2000. Today we hold more than 167 terabytes of web-based information, including legal blogs, websites of candidates for national office, and websites of Members of Congress.
Twitter cofounder Biz Stone explained the decisions as part of the service's ongoing commitment to openness. "The open exchange of information can have a positive global impact," he wrote on Twitter's official blog.
The announcement has elicited plenty of Internet chatter, particularly from tech and social media bloggers. Nancy Scola at TechPresident pondered the long-term feasibility of the project. "Is this going to be a continuously updated tweet archive? Will it be searchable by researchers? Will it track retweets and responses? Why not archive Facebook?" Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb inquired into some of the specifics. "Will the archive include friend/follower connection data? Will it be usable for commercial purposes? Will there be a web interface for searching it and will that change the face of Twitter search for good?"