After three years of work, the Library of Congress has nearly completed its Twitter archive—there's just one problem: sharing the archive with the public.
The LoC started archiving tweets in April 2010 after signing an agreement with Twitter. An update was recently posted on the LoC blog and, as of now, approximately 170 billion tweets have been collected since the microblogging site's inception in 2006.
As the archive continues to grow, the LoC has yet to find a way to share the database. Gayle Osterberg, the Library’s Director of Communications, discussed the status of the project:
This month, all those objectives will be completed. We now have an archive of approximately 170 billion tweets and growing. The volume of tweets the Library receives each day has grown from 140 million beginning in February 2011 to nearly half a billion tweets each day as of October 2012. The Library’s focus now is on addressing the significant technology challenges to making the archive accessible to researchers in a comprehensive, useful way. These efforts are ongoing and a priority for the Library.
Over 400 researchers have already made requests to access the archive but none have been approved due to the LoC's inability to provide live access, a reality Osterberg described as “an inadequate situation in which to begin offering access to researchers.”
Check out the latest update on the Twitter archive directly from the Library of Congress here.