While hashtags and tweets seem to disappear amid the endless torrent of Twitter conversations, the staff at Gelman Library is preserving them for history.
Laura Wrubel and Daniel Chudnov, who help run the library’s technology arm, developed a tool, now in its early stages, that gathers data from Twitter to simplify social media research for GW professors.
“The data is amazing. A lot of people look at it and think, ‘Why do we need a record of millions of people telling us what they had for lunch?’ But it’s a lot more than just that,” Chudnov, Gelman’s director of scholarly technology, said. “It’s a wealth of material that people will study for years and years and years.”
With this technological initiative, everything released by the library will be open-source, meaning it won’t be closed off behind GW’s digital wall, but rather be open to everyone. The Twitter data collection software is available on the sharing website GitHub.
“You have to give back to the community, to academia and to the whole world, because when you do everything internally and you don’t release it, it’s a waste of money,” Karim Boughida, associate University librarian for digital initiatives and content management, said.
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