Library of Congress to Stop Archiving All Public Tweets Due to Large Volume

By Chrissie Cluney,  Contributing Editor

The Library of Congress will no longer add every public tweet to its archives. This was a large project that was launched seven years ago. It cited that much larger volume of tweets generated now, as well as Twitter’s decision to double the character limit from 140 to 280 is why the Congress is stopping this endeavor.

“Generally, the tweets collected and archived will be thematic and event-based, including events such as elections, and themes of ongoing national interest, e.g. public policy,” said the Library of Congress.

Beginning on Jan. 1, the Library will be more selective about what tweets to preserve. The volume and longer length of tweets currently means collecting every single public tweet is no longer practical. Also, the Library only archives text. The fact that many tweets now contain images, videos or links means a text-only collection is no longer valuable.

“The Library generally does not collect comprehensively,” said the Library. “Given the unknown direction of social media when the gift was first planned, the Library made an exception for public tweets. With social media now established, the Library is bringing its collecting practice more in line with its collection policies.”

What’s another project that the Library of Congress has been working on? The other project the Library has embarked on in order to ensure that the experiences and memories of ordinary people are part of the historical record include the American Folklife Center. This Center oversees the Veterans History Project and collects dialect recordings, among other initiatives.