The Library of Congress has announced changes to its long-running plan to archive all tweets on Twitter. The LOC announced that starting December 31st, 2017, it will stop archiving all tweets and instead will be selective in the tweets it decides to archives, meaning it will be on a “very selective basis,” Gizmodo reports.
The decision was recently announced in a published white paper that said, “the tweets collected and archived will be thematic and event-based, including events such as elections, or themes of ongoing national interest, e.g. public policy.”
The LOC first announced plans to create a single searchable archive of every public tweet more than seven years ago. The project has run into a lot of bumps and was stalled a few years ago. In 2013, the organization published a white paper explaining that the delay was due to budget issues and lack of software. In addition, Twitter’s terms of agreements also prohibits “substantial portions” of its website from being downloadable. This made is really tough for LOC to download every public tweet.
In this month’s white paper, LOC says that the reason to narrow the project’s scope is the fact that “the nature of Twitter has changed over time.” This is definitely true. Gizmodo points out that the LOC also had only been collecting text, which also has pictures and videos attached, making it all worthless to the archive. According to the LOC, the current archive will remain unavailable “until access issues can be resolved,” and there is currently not set timeline on when these issues will be resolved to gain access to the current archive.