Library of Congress will no longer archive every public tweet

28 December, 2017, 00:31 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Library of Congress reins in Twitter archives project

But starting January 1, the nation's oldest federal cultural institution will change its policy from collecting every tweet to saving ones on a select and more scrutinizing basis.

The Library of Congress hopes that archive could become "one of this generation's most significant legacies to future generations".

Twitter has gone from processing about 5,000 tweets a day in 2007, to more than 50 million tweets daily when it partnered with the Library of Congress in 2010.

The library in 2010 began its tweet archive after receiving a "gift" from Twitter of the full database of public tweets dating from the first tweet in 2006, but has not determined when or how to make this public. People are tweeting more now than they have before, the tweets themselves have gotten longer, and the cataloging process leaves out images, videos, and linked content - all of which are essential to many posts.

However, the Library of Congress said the "nature of Twitter" and the social media landscape has changed significantly and has therefore chose to change its collection strategy in the new year.

"The Library generally does not collect comprehensively", it explained.


With the new guidelines, the Library announced in a press release Tuesday, "the tweets collected and archived will be thematic and event-based, including events such as elections, or themes of ongoing national interest, e.g. public policy".

"The volume of tweets and related transactions has evolved and increased dramatically since the initial agreement was signed", the library explains in a white paper accompanying the announcement.

From casual tweeters to the White House's tweeter-in-chief, the Library of Congress has digitally stored every public post shared on Twitter since the social media platform's inception in 2006. "Future generations will learn much about this rich period in our history, the information flows, and social and political forces that help define the current generation".

1, the Library of Congress will curtail what's been a seven-year effort to collect and archive every single utterance on Twitter.

As the twelfth year of Twitter draws to a close, the Library has made a decision to change its collection strategy for receipt of tweets on December 31, 2017.

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