Library of Congress to End Wide-Ranging Twitter Archiving

28 December, 2017, 01:11 | Author: Julian Harrison
  • Main reading room at the Library of Congress Washington D.C

Now that it has 12 years of tweets in the collection, the library suggested that it had largely fulfilled its original goal of documenting the rise and evolution of Twitter.

Moreover, the Library of Congress only takes text-based tweets, so posts like President Trump's recent retweet of a bloodied CNN logo splattered on his shoe don't make the cut.

This won't really change anything as far as your ability to peruse a massive, comprehensive Twitter archive, to be clear, because that ability has never materialized.

This does not mean that the Library of Congress will stop keeping track of some tweets, merely that it won't be trying to log and archive all of them.

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

"The initiative was bold and celebrated among research communities", the blog post says.




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

The first tweets on Twitter.com were published in 2006. It will, instead, collect them on a "very selective basis".

"Tweets now are often more visual than textual, limiting the value of text-only collecting", the institution said. The Library of Congress was essentially vacuuming up every tweet, archiving it, and attempting to turn it into a public searchable destination. The collection as a whole will remain under embargo "until access issues can be resolved in a cost-effective and sustainable manner".

"With social media now established, the Library is bringing its collecting practice more in line with its collection policies", it said in the document.

The new collection policy will go into effect on 31 December. The institution is also working with Twitter on how to handle public tweets that were later deleted. "Additionally, Twitter agreed to provide tweets on an ongoing basis under the same terms", the Library of Congress declared in a white paper.

Nevertheless, the library's existing collection offers a "snapshot" of a unique moment in history, it said.

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