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Collecting and archiving tweets: a DataPool case study

Hitchcock, Steve (2013) Collecting and archiving tweets: a DataPool case study University of Southampton 12pp.

Record type: Monograph (Project Report)


Information presented to a user via Twitter is variously called a ‘stream’, that is, a constant flow of data passing the viewer or reader. Where the totality of information passing through Twitter at any moment is considered, the flow is often referred to as a ‘firehose’, in other words, a gushing torrent of information. Blink and you’ve missed it. But does this information have only momentary value or relevance? Is there additional value in collecting, storing and preserving these data? This short report describes a small case study in archiving collected tweets by, and about, a research data project, DataPool at the University of Southampton. It explains the constraints imposed by Twitter on the use of such collections, describes how a service for collections evolved within these constraints, and illustrates the practical issues and choices that resulted in an archived collection.

The second version of the report adds a short postscript on rights, ethics and privacy of archiving Twitter data, prompted by a Twitter dialogue on this report. Two additional references of related work at Southampton are provided towards the end of sections 1 and 2.

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Published date: 21 May 2013
Keywords: digital preservation, Twitter, archiving, DataPool, Twitter archive, Tweepository
Organisations: Web & Internet Science


Local EPrints ID: 352943
PURE UUID: babf8c9e-2277-4f7f-a429-10edfff37754

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Date deposited: 21 May 2013 14:17
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 04:09

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Author: Steve Hitchcock

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