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Update on the Twitter Archive at the Library of Congress

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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

Comments (17)

  1. Not only Twiter. Most social media webs are rubbish. A huge waste of time, resources and productivity.

  2. The president’s tweets are official statements, as stated by the previous press secretary and should be preserved in their entirety. Their horrible, rotten entirety!

  3. Will you at least be keeping up with all government officials?

    • Thanks for your comment. The National Archives has jurisdiction over the records of U.S. federal government officials.

  4. Tweets from public officials should be public record, not selectively chosen introducing the potential for bias, unconscious or not. If public officials choose to communicate their views via Twitter, it should be kept in their entirety.

    This is a loss for historians, the public, and nation. You should reconsider this poorly thought out policy.

  5. This is very sad. As a daily twitter user I had the hope that historian will see my very important tweets in a hundred years and publish about them.

    Is there an opt-in? Would love to be archived.

    Thanks and regards
    Paul Smith

  6. Any Tweets by publicly elected officials, at the very least, should be preserved by the Library of Congress. Twitter should be commended for sharing the information.

  7. Anything tweeted from official government twitter accounts is a government record and under the purview of NARA. Tweets emanating from private accounts such as #realdonaldtrump (or whatever the hash tag is for the private account the president uses) are private and should be included in the Twitter archives.

  8. Data science researcher here very excited to learn about this, can’t wait until there’s open access to researchers!

  9. I don’t like this. Every tweet in it’s entirety should be archived. Selective tweets? Who picks these? This is NOT a good thing.

  10. thanks you sir

  11. And so goes the rewriting of Twitter history already.
    Such a shame to introduce irreliability and political
    doubt into this archive. No good excuse not to
    save all tweets. Period.

  12. Are twitter archives accessible and searchable by the public? Are presidential tweets being added to the national record?

  13. Hey,
    If you are looking for a complete Twitter archive you can only get this by third party Twitter analytics tool known as Followersanalysis. Twitter itself does not provide any such option.

  14. So Twitter and our government isn’t keeping a copy of President Donald Trump’s Tweets? He doesn’t do day to day policy, diplomacy,even day to day administration housekeeping on Twitter? (hiring/firing)? He does and
    has the whole time, public records, Americans have a right to all of it. How would this not be a Presidential record? I’m a history buff, I want it all. Politically I’m independent and he has been right and wrong like most humans, I want all the data.

  15. President Trump’s tweets have been archived by the National Archives (NARA). All presidential records are archived. Perhaps there will be a Trump Presidential Library (as there are for Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan, Carter, et. al) where his tweets and other papers can be accessed. Nothing will be lost even though the Library of Congress stopped saving tweets!

    LoC blog admin: I read the attached PDF document. It said you had no plans to make the first 12 years of Twitter content available to the public, due to the problem of affordable access. Has that changed in the six years since this post was published?

    • Hi there,

      This is a good question; please address to the staff who can give you an answer at

      That will put you in touch with a reference librarian, just as if you walked into a reading room at the Library!

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