Who’s collecting and archiving podcasts, tweets, emails, and other fleeting content?
005, before the words “podcast” and “boom” ever appeared in the same sentence, an archivist named Jason Scott, proprietor of textfiles.com, attempted to collect every podcast in existence. (Many of those first files are still sitting on DVR discs in Scott’s attic.)
Larger institutions also got involved in attempting to preserve digital ephemera. That includes the Library of Congress (LC), which reached an agreement with Twitter in 2010 to build an onsite research archive.
“Archiving and preserving outlets such as Twitter will enable future researchers access to a fuller picture of today’s cultural norms, dialogue, trends, and events to inform scholarship, the legislative process, new works of authorship, education, and other purposes,” reads a 2013 white paper from LC on the topic.
However, at Twitter’s current size, its users send 200 billion tweets per year, and LC’s project eventually became unsustainable.
Academic libraries are helping to fill the void with social media research and data collection. George Washington Libraries at George Washington University in D.C., created an open source tool called Social Feed Manager to capture social media data for research, archiving, and academic work. In 2013, the project received a $24,550 Sparks! Ignition Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS)....more