Library of Congress Twitter archive reduced to only important tweets

Brittany A. Roston - Dec 26, 2017
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Library of Congress Twitter archive reduced to only important tweets

Following years of archiving every public tweet ever, the Library of Congress has reduced its Twitter archival goal: it will now only save tweets that it decides are important. That’s not to say the archiving was a failure, because it wasn’t; the Library of Congress is in possession of all public tweets spanning back 12 years. Going forward, though, the Library of Congress says it will only archive tweets on a “selective basis.”

Way back in 2010, the Library of Congress announced that it would archive all public tweets — just the text part — as a way to preserve information that could be prized by future historians. In addition to collecting and archiving those public tweets since 2010, Twitter itself gifted the Library of Congress with its own archive of public tweets dated from 2006 to 2010.

The state of social media in 2010 was far different than it is in 2017, though. Social media is utilized by a huge number of people across many different services, as one example; an increasing number of posts also revolve around non-text media, which means many archived tweets are nonsense in the absence of the included video, GIF, or image.

For a variety of reasons, the Library of Congress says that it will reduce its tweet archiving efforts starting on January 1, 2018. Once that date arrives, the Library will “acquire tweets on a selective basis,” which is similar to the way it chooses to collect web sites. The existing collection of public tweets will be maintained, though.

The Library of Congress says it will be working with Twitter to collect these “selective basis” tweets going forth. The current collection of tweets still isn’t available, however, “until access issues can be resolved in a cost-effective and sustainable manner,” the Library says. If you’re interested, you can read a Library of Congress white paper that goes into further details about the Twitter archival revision.

SOURCE: Library of Congress


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