Public invited to document life during pandemic in PNW’s archive project

 

Northwest Indiana residents are invited to participate in a project by Purdue University Northwest’s Archives and Special Collections Department to document the unique historical moments created amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Community members are asked to share their everyday life experiences during this period of time by keeping a log of living in the region.

“Lives have been reshaped abruptly due to the coronavirus pandemic and historians in the future will want to know what it was like for the average person during this uncertain time,” PNW officials said.  “Things to consider are the challenges experienced while working remotely or as an essential worker, caring for loved ones, performing a self-quarantine, or feeling the limitations of a statewide stay-at-home order. This is a grassroots movement that will help to inform the world how people in Northwest Indiana dealt with COVID-19.”

With an emphasis on self-expression and willingness to be a primary resource for the future, any format such as creative writings, photos, artwork and videos will be accepted. There is no limit to the amount of information or materials each person could contribute.

The public may learn more about the COVID-19 archives project at pnw.edu/covid-archive.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis, it is likely that submissions could include personal health information. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) legally protects this information; therefore, it is important to note that submissions should not include personally identifiable health information about another person or persons, or information that could allow a third party to identify other people. It would be in the best interest of everyone to fully anonymize the information in the submission,” PNW officials said.  

In addition, works will only be accepted upon receipt of a signed agreement to release this information to the public.  Participants must be over 18 years old to submit information for this project.

Questions about this project should be directed to PNW University Archivist Joseph Coates at jcoates@pnw.edu with “COVID-19 JOURNAL” in the subject line. A release form will need to be completed before any materials can be accepted. The form can be found online at pnw.edu/covid-archive.

Physical documents and materials, such as a handwritten diary or a painting, may be dropped off at the PNW archives office once it is reopened to the public, or mailed to the archives office at PNW’s Hammond or Westville campuses. The addresses can be found on the website, pnw.edu/covid-archive.

This project draws inspiration from the history of Mass Observation, which can be found at http://www.massobs.org.uk/.

 

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