Documenting COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many things about our daily lives: work, play, shopping, even basic things like getting a haircut. Millions of people have been asked to stay in their homes and self-isolate to flatten the curve and curb the swift spread of the novel coronavirus.

As archivists, we’ve been asking ourselves about the ways in which society is documenting this pandemic, unlike anything most of us have seen in our lifetime. Newspapers, television, and websites are filled every day with stories about COVID-19 and its impact on society. People are posting updates and videos on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook as they adjust to this new reality.

One hundred years from now, will all of this information be available as a historical record of what we’re currently experiencing? Will future generations have the opportunity to access the content we’re creating as we navigate this uncertain and difficult time?

The Society of American Archivists has published a resource page that includes a link to Documenting Your Community’s Experience of COVID-19: A Resource ListArchives and archivists are actively seeking and collecting photographs, social media posts, artwork, journal and diary entries, emails, physical items, and other types of materials “related to documenting experiences and responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Hopefully these resources will serve not only as documentary evidence for future historians, but will allow us as individuals to process our fears and emotions during the pandemic.

Take care of yourself and your loved ones, and stay well!