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Moritz Law  /  Law Library  /  Opinio Juris  /April 2010

Opinio Juris - April 2010

Scroll down to learn about the Twitter Archive at the Library of Congress, World Constitutions Illustrated on HeinOnline, HouseLive.gov, and Google's Government Requests Tool.

Library of Congress to Archive Twitter

It was announced this month that Twitter is donating its digital archive of public tweets to the Library of Congress. The Library will receive all public tweets, numbering in the billions, from the 2006 inception of the service to the present. "The Twitter digital archive has extraordinary potential for research into our contemporary way of life," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "The Twitter digital archive has extraordinary potential for research into our contemporary way of life," said Librarian of Congress James H. Billington. "This information provides detailed evidence about how technology based social networks form and evolve over time. The collection also documents a remarkable range of social trends. Anyone who wants to understand how an ever-broadening public is using social media to engage in an ongoing debate regarding social and cultural issues will have need of this material." According to the Library, the Twitter archive "follows in the Library's long tradition of gathering individuals' firsthand accounts of history." The Twitter archive will not be posted online, but the Library envisions posting selected content around topics or themes.

World Constitutions Illustrated on HeinOnline

The World Constitutions Illustrated library is now available on HeinOnline. As described by Hein, the library brings together constitutional documents, books, articles, bibliographic references, and web sites all into one database. The initial release includes the current constitution for every country (193 countries) and substantial constitutional hierarchies for the United Kingdom, France, Brazil and Colombia. The collection for every country includes the current constitution in its original language format, links to commentaries and other relevant sources, links to scholarly articles that discuss constitutional development or the history of the government, and a bibliography of select constitutional books. Additionally, the library contains the complete set of the British & Foreign State Papers. HeinOnline is available on-campus and off-campus with proper authentication.


The United States House of Representatives is now offering live streaming video at the new HouseLive.gov web site going back to the 111th Congress (January 6, 2009).  Users can browse House floor proceedings or search by keywords or dates. Users can also use keyword searches and construct custom RSS feeds.

Google’s Government Requests Tool

Google recently announced the launch of its Government Requests Tool. The purpose of the tool is to provide information about the requests for user data or content removal that Google (and the Google-owned YouTube) receives from government agencies around the world. The web site contains a map, which can be ordered by requests for data or requests for content removal. Google is using data from July-December 2009 and intends to update the data in 6-month increments.