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Archives and Special Collections: Documenting the coronavirus pandemic

Help us to document coronavirus

In the University archive service, we are looking for ways to document the strange times we’re currently living in to help us both deal with what we’re going through now and to evidence this for the future. We have come up with three key ways that you can help us in this effort which will hopefully also provide you with a creative outlet during a frustrating time.

Daily Diary

We would love participants of absolutely all ages to create a daily coronavirus diary. The diary can be handwritten or typed and can include absolutely anything you might wish to record. Tell us about the weather and if it’s affecting you, what meals you’re eating and if they’re different to what you’d usually eat – could you not find something in the shops? Are you craving something from your favourite café? How are you passing your days? Many will now be working or studying from home – how has this worked and how has it affected you? Key workers, are you experiencing drastic changes in the way that you perform your role? What do you miss? But also, are there some small silver linings to this situation – the wildlife coming closer to your front door or making more time to call friends? No detail is too inconsequential to include - we cannot know what researchers of the future will wish we had written down.

Our guide to creating your diary and donating it to the archive can be accessed below.

 

Images from ‘out in the wild’

We are also collecting images that will help to illustrate the reality of this period. We imagine these will mainly take the form of photographs but if drawing is your thing then go for it! We would like images of anything that you think will help to illustrate the practical realities of this period for future generations. This could be information posters, markers on floors and pavements, physically distant queuing at shops, empty streets, boarded up shop fronts or the gap on the shop shelves where you hoped your product of choice would be. What about all the amazing rainbows in people's windows! It would be great if you could keep a note of where and when your images are taken so that we can catalogue them effectively.

 

Videos of #ClapForNHS

Finally, the #ClapForNHS (which now has a variety of affiliated hashtags such as #ClapForCarers or #ClapForKeyWorkers) has become a weekly occurrence. If any of you take videos during the Thursday night pot-banging and pipe-playing then we’d love to see them. Again, if you could make a note of where and when your videos are filmed, that would help us enormously.

 

These forms of documentation will eventually become part of the NHS Forth Valley Archive which is based here at the University and will be used by a wide range of researchers so please be respectful of others while you create and document.

Please note that your contribution to the archive can remain anonymous if you wish. 

We are accepting donations of the above material from residents of the Forth Valley area and staff and students at the University of Stirling only.  If you have material relating to the pandemic that you would like to donate but are not a resident of Forth Valley or work/study at the University, you can still get in touch and we will try and help you find an appropriate archive for your material.

Likewise, if you have material that you wish to donate which doesn’t clearly fall into the categories we’ve outlined on this page then please also feel free to get in touch. Perhaps we will want to include this in our collection policy or we may know of somewhere else who would gladly accept your donation.

 

For those creating diaries, we will issue instructions on how to get them to us once we’re all back to something a bit more normal. You can also keep your images and videos until then or email them to us at the address below as and when you take them.

Any questions can be directed to the Archive team at archives@stir.ac.uk.