That’s now beginning to change. The creation of digitized and born-digital archives allows libraries to easily collaborate in storing them. And in a survey released last month by a Library of Congress working group, 96% of institutions expressed interest in collaborating on web archiving — though only 23% were currently doing it.
Maybe the most stand-out fact here is that so many universities began web archiving projects so recently. Colleges now span the digital and the geographical: memorable exchanges in the classroom are joined (though not matched) by memorable exchanges on Facebook and Twitter. And that typed, digital nature of collegiate conversation means that — if the communication is collected, and if libraries outfit themselves for the age of bits — we might be able to study intellectual exchanges more in the future, not less. The ephemeral can become the archival.