The Library of Congress recently made headlines by announcing an unusual acquisition: every public tweet ever sent on Twitter. Cleverly, it made the announcement by Twitter — and the interest brought the library’s servers to a standstill, reports WalletPop.

In the humming computer stacks in the James Madison Memorial Building of the Library, preserving digital media is an ongoing challenge. Everything that’s chosen for preservation, and there’s a lot beyond Twitter messages, must be backed up, and as the storage media ages and evolves, must be put on the latest storage devices to ensure it can be read by the next generation of users.

The Library of Congress is your library. Like Twitter, it’s free to use. So there’s an advantage to keeping those throwaway bits of minutia clogging the Web.

If you’re an anthropologist, you don’t see a tweet as useless at all. Years from now, they will illuminate everyday life in a way we never have been able to do for previous generations.

Photo by WalletPop.

 

Originally posted by Rich Whittle on May 26, 2010 in History.

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