Last year, the Library of Congress announced a deal with Twitter where the library would archive all the public tweets ever sent.
Yesterday we got a glimpse into what that means through an interview on Federal News Radio with Bill Lefurgy from the Library of Congress.
The archive will not contain tweets that users have flagged as private. It will only contain public tweets. The vast majority of the over 140 million tweets processed daily by Twitter are public though. So that is a lot of data.
It’s currently billions of tweets and one can easily see where it might be trillions some day. This is the perfect type of project for a national digital library to handle, but since we don’t have one yet it makes for the Library of Congress to take on the project. They are the closest thing we have to a national digital public library.
Unfortunately, if you were hoping to be able to go the archive and search for Charlie Sheen’s old rants or Kim Kardashian’s comments you will be sorely dissappointed. The archived tweets will only be available to researchers.
This is really sad as this would be a great service for a digital library to offer. I’m sure people would love to be able to go through old tweets to see what people were actually thinking at a given time in history. Hopefully, the Library of Congress will change their mind and decide to open the archive up to the general public.