The US Library of Congress said Wednesday it plans to digitally archive all of the billions of messages known as "tweets" sent on Twitter since its launch four years ago.
"Library to acquire ENTIRE Twitter archive -- ALL public tweets, ever, since March 2006!" the Washington-based library, the world's largest, announced in a message on its Twitter account at Twitter.com/librarycongress.
"That's a LOT of tweets, by the way: Twitter processes more than 50 million tweets every day, with the total numbering in the billions," Matt Raymond of the Library of Congress added in a blog post.
Raymond highlighted the "scholarly and research implications" of acquiring the micro-blogging service's archive.
He said the messages being archived include the first-ever "tweet," sent by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, and the one that ran on Barack Obama's Twitter feed when he was elected president.
"Just setting up my twttr," Dorsey wrote on March 21, 2006.
Obama told his Twitter followers on November 5, 2008, a day after his historic presidential win: "We just made history. All of this happened because you gave your time, talent and passion. All of this happened because of you."
Raymond said the move is part of the library's effort to preserve "significant digital content" for future generations.
The Library of Congress houses millions of books, recordings, photographs, manuscripts and maps.
In another Twitter-related announcement on Wednesday, Internet giant Google unveiled a new tool that allows users to search, select and "replay" what people said on the micro-blogging service at a particular point in time.
"Tweets and other short-form updates create a history of commentary that can provide valuable insights into what's happened and how people have reacted," Google said. "We want to give you a way to search across this information and make it useful."
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