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British Library adds billions of webpages and tweets to archive

08/04/2013 09:06

Every public tweet and Facebook entry in the UK could eventually be archived
Material on 1bn webpages from nearly 5m .uk websites, plus public tweets and Facebook entries, are to preserved for the historical record at six libraries in the UK and Ireland.
The archive project, aimed at preserving a digital record of events and cultural and intellectual works to match traditional print archives, begins on Saturday. Its organisers say copies of every public tweet and Facebook entry in the UK could eventually be included. The moves will also cover ebooks and iPad editions of newspapers and other digital forms.
The British Library will begin the enormous operation a day after new regulations laid down by parliament come into force but already it is warning that key accounts of some events over the past 10 years have already been lost. "If you want a picture of what life is like today in the UK you have to look at the web," said Lucie Burgess, head of strategy at the library. "We have already lost a lot of material, particularly around events such as the 7/7 London bombings or the 2008 financial crisis."
Social media reactions to the Queen's diamond jubilee celebrations were among other information that had fallen "into the digital black hole of the 21st century because we haven't been able to capture it," she said. "Most of that material has already been lost or taken down." Burgess added: "We will have to distinguish between content published in the UK and elsewhere but in principle we will be able to archive the publicly available tweets of any individual, company or organisation."
Until now the British Library could only preserve a relatively small number of websites. The 2003 Legal Deposit Libraries Act paved the way for such information to be stored but copyright laws had forced it to seek permission each time it wanted to collect web content.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2013/apr/05/british-library-archive-webpages-tweets

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