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Tweets From the Library of Congress

Last April, the Library of Congress announced that it will archive all Tweets back to March 2006. But more than just a big electronic scoop, there are several active projects underway at LOC to bring the dusty collection dating back to Jefferson’s personal book collection that are worth noting.

I spoke to Andrew Weber, whose primary focus is the site Thomas.gov. Thomas (named after our third president, naturally) has been around since the early days of the Web and is a vast repository of all sorts of Congressional goodies. Weber is a lawyer who works in the law library there and coordinates various social media efforts for LOC. “I try to reach out and foster a community of people that are interested in our content.” He has set up a special Twitter account for Thomas that already has 2,000 followers – there you can find updates on active bills on both floors, for example.

Weber produces a lot of content, including a blog that he updates each day, as well as monitoring other library activities and individuals that might be of interest to this community.

“We try to make a lot of changes to Thomas based on user feedback and implement most requested features,” he says. He was pleasantly surprised at the Twitter content acquisition last year, and is on the committee trying to grapple with organizing and archiving this data.

Thomas is actually several different databases – there is one for current legislation, another for searching multiple past Congresses, treaty searches, Presidential searches, and even a copy of the Federalist Papers. All told, there are more than 200,000 individual items.

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