An empty food court in Place Riel on Friday, March 20, 2020; one of the photos in USask's COVID-19 Community Archive that chronicle this unprecedented time (photo: David Bindle).

COVID-19 Community Archive launched

The project is a partnership between University Archives and Special Collections (UASC), the Digital Research Centre (DRC) and faculty in the Department of History in the College of Arts and Science.

The University of Saskatchewan (USask) has launched a COVID-19 Community Archive to document life in Saskatchewan during the global health crisis.

“We want to help capture the everyday experiences alongside the formal responses to COVID-19,” said Dr. Erika Dyck (PhD), a USask history professor and Canada Research Chair in the History of Medicine.

As a community-driven initiative, the digital archive will include submissions from residents that chronicle individual or collective experiences. This includes photographs, social media posts, videos, creative projects, email, blog entries, journals, and personal reflections.

“Beyond it being useful for future historians, it has also been comforting to share the various strategies for coping and helping each other during COVID-19,” said Dyck.

Through web archiving, interviews and other initiatives, the project team will also gather documentation such as news releases, policy changes, essential services declarations, and the VIDO-InterVac response.

“The internet allows us to collect material posted online, add metadata to help organize it and preserve the digital texts and artifacts for future research,” said history professor Dr. Jim Clifford (PhD).

The purpose of the archive is to provide valuable source material for researchers—faculty, students, journalists, historians and writers—studying how the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the university and the province at large.

“It will be exciting to see the archive develop into something that can be used for everything from reflection to research for decades to come,” said Craig Harkema, co-director of the DRC.

The COVID-19 Community Archive content can be viewed and submitted online at covid19archive.usask.ca.

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