Archiving Tweets for Analysis and Preservation with Archivist

As one of over 1.4 million followers of @timoreilly I thank him for his tweet about the new Archivist tool from Microsoft which is still in alpha but appears to work well. Archivist comes in a Windows desktop version and as a web app. The tweets from a chosen search can be downloaded for archive in Excel spreadsheets and used for data analysis.

Running the desktop version I tried searching for the #educause10 hashtag as the annual EDUCAUSE Online Conference has been held over the last few days. In this case the list of the 1500 tweets in the horizon of Twitter search are returned:

2010-10-16 SNAG-04

A (very busy) pie chart with associated scrolling list of the tweeters and a line chart showing the tweets each are also available. The tweet collection can then be saved in XML format or in tab-delimited text format for input into Excel. The sheet format is as you would expect and allows for further detailed analysis and reporting, and re-export in other formats:

2010-10-16 SNAG-07

The better option though is the Archivist web app that of course can be accessed from most platforms with a modern browser. Multiple archives are supported and update automatically. Signing up with my Twitter account I did a similar search for the EDUCAUSE hashtag. More graphical information is generated and useful options include View in Excel, Download a .zip file and if the archive is made public a Tweet this page link generates a tweet for you.

2010-10-16 SNAG-08

In the Archivist web app the Excel spreadsheet contains useful additional information including the URL of the Twitter account image, a link to the Twitter client used and the lat/long of the location if provided.

I am impressed so far.

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About Michael Rees
Academic in IT interested in Web 2.0 and social media

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