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Library of Congress Offers Update On Huge Twitter Archive Project 88

Nerval's Lobster writes "Back in April 2010, the Library of Congress agreed to archive four years' worth of public Tweets. Even by the standards of the nation's most famous research library, the goal was an ambitious one. The librarians needed to build a sustainable system for receiving and preserving an enormous number of Tweets, then organize that dataset by date. At the time, Twitter also agreed to provide future public Tweets to the Library under the same terms, meaning any system would need the ability to scale up to epic size. The resulting archive is around 300 TB in size. But there's still a huge challenge: the Library needs to make that huge dataset accessible to researchers in a way they can actually use. Right now, even a single query of the 2006-2010 archive takes as many as 24 hours to execute, which limits researchers' ability to do work in a timely way."
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Library of Congress Offers Update On Huge Twitter Archive Project

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  • by Reilaos ( 1544173 ) on Monday January 07, 2013 @07:00PM (#42511673) Homepage

    Some of the most important historical knowledge comes from things that people at the time wouldn't consider important. Things like grocery lists can help determine the diets and agricultural abilities of a culture at the time.

    For an example I just made up: In the future, the presence or lack of traffic reports could, alongside legal/budget records, help a historian verify the spread/development of roadways.

    Twitter could be a huge source of topics and a wealth of information for historians in the future.

    They may conclude that we were all idiots. This too, counts as useful information.

  • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fsterman ( 519061 ) on Monday January 07, 2013 @07:28PM (#42511965) Homepage

    Because academia is starved for data. Companies hoarding information limits what we can do with it. The library of congress is acting as an aggregate buyer for thousands of individual researchers, it is a huge cost savings.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.