The Library of Congress Will No Longer Be Archiving All Public Tweets

The Library of Congress Will No Longer Be Archiving All Public Tweets

Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, it will be selective in which tweets it archives - a break from the process of the past 12 years, according to a Library of Congress blog. "Subsequent selective tweet collecting may continue in addition to the twelve-year snapshot".

From December 31, the Library of Congress will no longer archive all posts but will still collect tweets deemed historically significant.

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. In 2010, the institution reached an "exciting and groundbreaking" agreement with Twitter to acquire the text of every public tweet posted from 2006 through April 2010 in a "bold and celebrated" initiative that was praised by researchers.

"As the twelfth year of Twitter draws to a close, the Library has chose to change its collection strategy for receipt of tweets on December 31, 2017. Additionally, Twitter agreed to provide tweets on an ongoing basis under the same terms", the Library of Congress declared in a white paper.

The library's decision, the result of a continuing evaluation of its practices, was driven by a number of factors, from the difficulty of maintaining the collection to the waning need for a comprehensive archive, the library said. Since then, the Library has continued to receive most tweets from Twitter - missing are images, videos and any linked content.

Even the Library of Congress can't keep up with Twitter anymore.

The Twitter collection will remain embargoed until access issues can be resolved in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.

"The Library will focus its efforts on preserving the Twitter collection for future generations". The collection of tweets will still proceed until December 31, 2017, but there will be heavily curated.