How to preserve your personal Twitter archive

20 November 2022
Painting of a whale, which is lifted above the beach by a swarm of red Twitter birds. In the foreground, an elderly couple watches the scene.
"Fail whale" by Kuni (ka-92) (license unknown), based on "Lifting a Dreamer" by Yiying Lu.

As a total collapse of Twitter is becoming more likely every day, many Twitter users have started to archive their personal data from the platform while it still exists. Twitter allows you to request and download your personal archive. Even though this works well, and the quality of the archive is surpringly good, it does have some shortcomings. The result of these shortcomings will be that some information in the archive (e.g. on followed accounts and followers) will be lost once Twitter ceases to exist. Some other information (in particular full, unshortened URLs) is included in the archive, but it is not easily accessible from the main HTML interface. The good news is, that some excellent tools exist to fix these shortcomings.

In this post I outline the workflow I used to preserve my own Twitter archive, and while doing so I also provide some background information on the shortcomings of the Twitter archive. Since some of these steps may, at first sight, be a little daunting for less tech-savvy readers, I’ve tried to provide step-by-step instructions where possible.


Wheel Out the Digital Dark Age Klaxon!

03 November 2022

Dutch electro outfit the Digital Dark Age Crew are one of the forgotten legends that used to be a mainstay of Rotterdam’s late 90s to mid-2000s underground electro scene. Their music was characterised by relentless electro beats, sparse synth lines, and lyrics that typically commented on the fragility and transience of digital media and digital information in general. In a twisted turn of events, this very theme would eventually define the Digital Dark Age Crew’s own history, ultimately leading to the group’s dramatic demise in 2007. After a fifteen year absence, the Digital Dark Age Crew have now made a long overdue comeback with their new track “Wheel Out the Digital Dark Age Klaxon”, which was released today on the occasion of World Digital Preservation Day 2022. Time to take a look back at the history of the Digital Dark Age Crew, and their continued relevance today!


Identification of physical storage media and devices with Python and the Windows API

14 June 2022
Still life of assorted storage media

This blog post covers some techniques that can be used to identify storage media and storage devices using Python and the Windows API. This can be useful for distinguishing between different types of portable storage media, such as floppy disks and USB thumb drives. It also presents a demo script that integrates these techniques.


Introducing Isolyzer 1.4

20 April 2022
Compact Discs still life

It’s been a while since the last release of the Isolyzer tool, but after four years of near-inactivity I just published Isolyzer 1.4. In this post I provide some background information on how this release came about, and I briefly explain the main changes.


Generating lossy access JP2s from lossless preservation masters

30 March 2022
Plumbers Tool Box
Intensive Breeding by Jean Marc Cote, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

At the KB we’ve been using JP2 (JPEG 2000 Part 1) as our primary image format for digitised newspapers, books and periodicals since 2007. The digitisation work is contracted out to external vendors, who supply the digitised pages as losslessly compressed preservation masters, as well as lossily compressed access images that are used within the Delpher platform.

Right now the KB is in the process of migrating its digital collections to a new preservation system. This prompted the question whether it would be feasible to generate access JP2s from the preservation masters in-house at some point in the future, using software that runs inside the preservation system1. As a first step towards answering that question, I created some simple proof of concept workflows, using three different JPEG 2000 codecs. I then tested these workflows with preservation master images from our collection. The main objective of this work was to find a workflow that both meets our current digitisation requirements, and is also sufficiently performant.



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