Archiving with TCAT

For quite some time now, our library has been archiving tweets about our college using twarc. This has been fine, so I hadn’t really dug any deeper into the world of archiving bots until earlier this week when my colleague Shawna Brandle approached me about using TCAT, the Twitter Capture and Analysis Toolset.

TCAT has a lot more packaging than twarc: from installation scripts, to a GUI, to extensive reports. Once it’s set up, it is a lot more user friendly than twarc. If you want a web-based twitter archiving tool that doesn’t require any command line knowledge of its users, TCAT is a good choice. The biggest technical hurdle is getting TCAT running on a linux (virtual) server. I set it up on AWS, with help from the good installation documentation.

TCAT offers a great opportunity to give your colleagues a tool to archive tweets. Beyond that, it provides a lot of ways to analyze and export collections of tweets. It’s got a lot more overhead — as well as more user-focused functionality — than twarc.

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