UGA wants you to submit your coronavirus stories for a digital archive

The technology we have may be more short-lived than we think, which is why archivists are acting fast to virtually document the history of the COVID-19 pandemic as it unfolds before our eyes.

Archivists and historians at the University of Georgia libraries have asked Georgians to submit their coronavirus experiences.

When we think of the word “history,” we often think of something that happened decades or centuries ago… segregation, World War II and the 1918 flu pandemic as examples.

Photos courtesy of UGA are examples of the responses they've gotten so far.

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“As archivists and as people who are working with historic materials, we’re always sort of looking at the world and what’s going on," said Steve Armour, university archivist at the UGA Special Collections Library. "How are people in the future going to be looking back at these events historically?”

Usually, archivists have tangible items to tell the story long after it happened, but the 2020 coronavirus pandemic isn’t usual.

Photos courtesy of UGA are examples of the responses they've gotten so far.

“A lot of times we’re getting something way back in history, [but] we’re documenting this thing as it’s unfolding in real time," Armour said. “We want to make sure that we have some kind of documentary record of that.”

Armour and others began working on the project mid-April. So far, they have received dozens of responses. 

One of those responses showcased a family that painted a graffiti-style mural that said "Stay Positive."

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Dr. Scott Nesbit is also working on the collection. 

He asked his students to look at how the coronavirus has impacted their communities and compare it to the 1918 Spanish flu.

“The other piece of this project is not just to gather materials related to our own time, but it’s also to look back 100 years and think about the pandemic of 1918, the Spanish influenza," said Nesbit, a professor of historic preservation at UGA.

Photos courtesy of UGA are examples of the responses they've gotten so far.

People living in 1918 just had newspapers to tell the story. Now, we have social media and video calls.

“The kind of technology we use is available for now, and it’s so ephemeral," Nesbit said. “Zoom calls are probably going to be lost forever if we don’t take great care to archive the ones that are really important.”


The archivists say you can submit anything from artwork to poems to diary entries that explain your coronavirus experience. 

You can find more information about the project at, and you can submit your materials at

The archivists hope to launch the archive online by late 2020 or early 2021. In the meantime, they are posting highlights on the UGA Special Collections Library's Facebook page.

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