PNW archivists encourage journaling of life in Northwest Indiana during the coronavirus pandemic

PNW archivists encourage journaling of life in Northwest Indiana during the coronavirus pandemic
By: Purdue University Northwest Last Updated: May 12, 2020

Purdue University Northwest’s (PNW) Archives and Special Collections department of the University Library is working on a special project to document the unique historical moments created amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Northwest Indiana community is invited to participate in sharing everyday life experiences by keeping a log of living in the region during this period in history.

How to participate

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. 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.

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.

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

Questions and contact information

Questions about this project should be directed to the 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, could be dropped off at the PNW Archives office once the Archives reopen to the public, or mailed to the Archives at PNW’s Hammond or Westville campuses. The addresses can be found on the website, pnw.edu/covid-archive.

When to submit information

Currently, this project is open ended as the situation continues to evolve. Participants are encouraged to document their daily or weekly lives as long as they are willing and able to do so.

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