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US Library of Congress downscales Twitter archive

US Library of Congress downscales Twitter archive

While it will continue to preserve the the archive of tweets from 2006 to 2010, it will soon only collect posts on a "very selective basis". The Library took this step for the same reason it collects other materials - to acquire and preserve a record of knowledge and creativity for Congress and the American people.

But the news site PoliticusUSA appeared to welcome the decision, tweeting that the library "would be no longer be wasting its resources by trying to archive every single public post published on Twitter".

Twitter gave the Library of Congress an archive in 2010 containing every public tweet since its launch four years earlier, as well as access to subsequent tweets posted publicly by the platform's millions of monthly users.

Unfortunately, the Library of Congress has only been collecting the text from tweets, so none of your amusing GIFs, image-based memes or videos will have been preserved through the archive.

The Library now has a secure collection of tweet text, documenting the first 12 years (2006-2017) of this dynamic communications channel-its emergence, its applications and its evolution. The initiative was bold and celebrated among research communities, " wrote Library of Congress spokeswoman Gayle Osterberg on its website.

But as anyone who's been following along can attest, Twitter and the way it's used has changed since then.

US Library of Congress Ends Twitter Archiving Project

"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 Library continuously reviews its ongoing acquisitions, whether subscriptions to newspapers or the receipt of tweets via a gift".

More information is available in the attached white paper.

The library, which is believed to be the largest in the world with a mission of preserving important national and global cultural records, announced this week it would stop collecting the entire Twittersphere's tweets from January 2018.

The Library of Congress will continue to archive certain tweets after January 1, but will focus on posts that are "thematic and event-based", including tweets concerning political elections, public policy matters or other issues of nation interest, it said in a statement.

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