In 2010, the Library of Congress announced an exciting and groundbreaking acquisition—a gift from Twitter of the entire archive of public tweet text beginning with the first tweets of 2006 through 2010, and continuing with all public tweet text going forward. 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. The initiative was bold and celebrated among research communities.
In the years since, the social media landscape has changed significantly, with new platforms, an explosion in use, terms of service and functionality shifting frequently and lessons learned about privacy and other concerns.
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.
Today, we announce a change in collections practice for Twitter. Effective Jan. 1, 2018, the Library will acquire tweets on a selective basis—similar to our collections of web sites.
The Library regularly reviews its collections practices to account for environmental shifts, diversity of collections and topics, cost effectiveness, use of collections and other factors. This change results from such a review.
More information is available in the attached white paper.
Some important details:
- The Library will continue to preserve and secure its collection of tweet text.
- The Twitter collection will remain embargoed until access issues can be resolved in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.
- The Library will work with Twitter to acquire tweets on a selective basis.
Attached is a white paper summarizing today’s announcement, as well as the original gift agreement with Twitter for reference.
Blog post: “Library Acquires Entire Twitter Archive,” April 14, 2010
Blog post: “The Library and Twitter: An FAQ,” April 28, 2010
Blog post: “Update on the Twitter Archive at the Library of Congress,” Jan. 4, 2013