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Library of Congress archives Twitter, the big and mundane

In the paper today:

By Cecilia Kang

The Library of Congress' project to archive Twitter was a nod to the significance of the social networking site that gave voice to imprisoned journalists in Egypt and fueled a rallying cry for users to donate money for relief efforts in Haiti.

It also will memorialize a mountain of information on the mundane, from burned breakfast bagels to delays on Metro's Red Line.

Internet scholars say those everyday recordings are useful to researchers, who will comb through the 50 million messages -- known as tweets -- spouted each day to provide a snapshot of our culture, in real time.

"We've been seeing in the past decades the rise of new scholarly disciplines that look at social history . . . that pay attention to everyday people and their everyday lives," said Lee Rainey, director of the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project. "We find ourselves lucky to find the bones of people who are a couple thousand years old so that we can find out about nutrition habits, so I have every reason to suspect this kind of material will tell interesting stories of the state of our culture at this moment."

Continue reading the full story.

By Cecilia Kang  |  April 16, 2010; 8:22 AM ET
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