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US Library of Congress to stop collecting each and every tweet

US Library of Congress to stop collecting each and every tweet

Beginning 1 January, The Library of Congress will "acquire tweets on a selective basis". The Library continued the effort from there, cataloging Twitter posts "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".

Officials cited several reasons for the decision: the volume of the tweet database is much bigger than it was a few years ago and the library lacks the capacity to deal with images and items other than text.

Back in 2010, the Library of Congress announced it would archive every public tweet ever tweeted.

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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 initiative was bold and celebrated among research communities", the release said.

In a white paper issued, the library said, "The Library has chose to change its collection strategy for receipt of tweets on December 31, 2017". In 2013, the library said it had been collecting half a billion tweets per day. Instead, starting on January 1, the Library will be more selective about what tweets to preserve, a decision it explained in a white paper.

The library is now only interested in tweets with "event-based" merit or tweets related to "themes of ongoing national interest".

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. Throughout its history, the Library has seized opportunities to collect snapshots of unique moments in human history and preserve them for future generations.

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More information is available in the attached white paper.

"The Twitter Archive may prove to be one of this generation's most significant legacies to future generations, " the institution wrote in a white paper announcing the policy change.

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

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