January 19, 2022

Nothing New to Report: The Atlantic Provides an Update and Review on Library of Congress/Twitter Archive Project

First, a Couple of Comments from infoDOCKET Founder/Editor Gary Price:

At this point, six years after it was first announced, LC has nothing new to report about if or when the Twitter archive will ever become available. As we’ve said before, don’t hold your breath. 

The Atlantic article provides both an update and useful review. For some additional background, we’ve shared three infoDOCKET posts on the project at the bottom of this post.

In terms of researchers being able to accessing large datasets of tweets the article does not mention that Twitter launched it’s own program to provide selected academics access to data.

The Twitter Data Grants program launched in February 2014 and the first grants were announced two months later.

Since then there have not been any new grants, the @datagrants Twitter feed has not been updated, and the data grants web page says the project is closed. What happened?

Now to The Atlantic article, “Can Twitter Fit Inside the Library of Congress?”

From the Article:

Six years after the announcement, the Library of Congress still hasn’t launched the heralded tweet archive, and it doesn’t know when it will. No engineers are permanently assigned to the project. So, for now, staff regularly dump unprocessed tweets into a server—the digital equivalent of throwing a bunch of paper clipped manuscripts into a chest and giving it a good shake. There’s certainly no way to search through all that they’ve collected. And, in the meantime, the value of a vast tweet cache has soared. This frustrates researchers, who had hoped to mine the archive for insights about language and society—and who currently have to pay heavy licensing fees to Twitter for its data.

Read the Complete Article (approx. 1400 Words)


Politico: Library of Congress Twitter Archive Project in “Limbo” (July 12, 2015)

The Library of Congress Posts Update and Releases Report About What’s Going On With Their Twitter Archive (January 4, 2013)

News About LC’s Twitter Archive: Gnip is Working With LC and Twitter to Provide Access to Tweets (June 9, 2011)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.