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Live Mic: U of U creating a digital pandemic collection

Campus gates near President's Circle at the U of U. Credit: Paul Nelson

SALT LAKE CITY — What are you putting in your time capsule for future generations to learn about the coronavirus pandemic that you are experiencing? The U of U wants to know so they’re creating a digital pandemic collection.

To preserve this historic time, the University of Utah is soliciting photos and stories from residents in the state for a digital pandemic collection. They want to know about how the global pandemic has impacted the lives of Utahns.

And the collection of memories won’t be opened in a time capsule 50 years from today. It’ll be much sooner than that.

Jeremy Myntti, head of Digital Library Services at the J. Willard Marriott Library at the U of U, joined Lee Lonsberry on Live Mic to discuss the Utah COVID-19 Digital Collection Project.

“This [pandemic] is going to be something that’s interesting to researchers in the future to see how we cope with life in 2020,” Myntti said.

“Through this project at the Marriott Library, we’re hoping to take a snapshot of what life looks like here during the pandemic, so current and future historians can have the information that they need to study the effects on people during this time period.”

Calling for submissions for the digital pandemic collection

“Where do you expect to collect these stories and narratives?” Lee asked.

Myntti said on the library website there is a link to the digital collection where any resident can submit their photos and stories. He said the library has been accepting submission for about three weeks. He said the collection contains 450 items shared by 200 to 250 people.

“You are asking for everyone’s experience regardless of how mundane it is?” Lee asked.

“No matter what you’re going through, it’s going to be interesting to be able to study that in the future,” Myntti said.

He said some of the content the library has received shows everyday life, such as people working from home or doing schoolwork online. One funny submission showed people recreating their canceled spring-break cruise in their backyard.

See content from the digital pandemic collection now

“Will there be excerpts available for the public, later on, to look back and see how their neighbors fared? Or will this be tucked into a time capsule to be opened in 50 years?” Lee asked.

He said once the content has been processed, the collection will go online and be freely available to anyone to view. He said there are 300 items available to browse through now, and more than 150 items still awaiting processing.

“Once we have them on our website, the plan is to keep them up for the future so people today and 20- or 50-years down the road can use this archive to do research to see what everybody was going through,” Myntti said.

He encouraged people to go to the library website and see what interesting things Utahns are doing to pass the time during the pandemic.

“It might even give you ideas of what you can do while you’re staying at home,” he said.

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

 


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

UtahState Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States