In these wildly uncertain times, it can be difficult to think too far beyond “when will things get
back to normal?” But archivists are also wondering how this unique moment might be
remembered years from now. UNT’s University Archivist is working to save materials that
UNT produces to communicate information about the pandemic. But there’s still more to be
done to preserve this history, and students can help.

Yellow bar with text stating that UNT's on-campus operations are closed until further notice, above a green page menu and a photo banner with a picture of the Union and text celebrating UNT as a top 10 public university on the rise.

COVID-19 alert on UNT website homepage, March 2020.

What is already being added to the archive is the official response to the pandemic: campus-wide
email announcements, the UNT health alerts website, news articles. It is much harder to
capture how something like this truly effects the people in our campus community. This is where
students and other community members come in. By recording how you experience this crisis
and contributing to the archive, you can help to tell the full story of how COVID-19 impacted the
UNT community to future generations.

Email window with email subject "COVID-19 Update" from UNT's Official Notice account. Email has green header with COVID-19 Update and UNT logo, with text below reading "Today, we went live with more than 7,700 classes that transitioned from face-to-face to online."

Official Notice COVID-19 Update email regarding face-to-face classes going online, March 23, 2020.

There are many ways you can record how you experience our present time of social distancing
and quarantine. If you haven’t kept a journal before, now is as a good a time as any to start. Or
maybe you can communicate your experience of the pandemic better another way – visual art,
songwriting, zine making, podcasting, even taking a photo on your phone of empty grocery store
shelves is documentation of what is happening in our community in 2020. All these ways of
documenting your experiences can be therapeutic in processing your own thoughts right now
and can also help future generations understand just what it was like to be alive in this moment.

However you record your experience of this time, the University Archive at UNT can provide a
long term home to your voice. In the archive, your story can be revisited when we look back on
the cultural impact of the pandemic once this is all over. Even if you don’t want to part with your
physical journal or artwork or zine, the University Archive can accept digital versions of
whatever you create either through our web application Keeper or a more traditional donation
process. Digital items live online in our Digital Library and the Portal to Texas History for anyone
with Internet access to discover, and physical materials stay in our vault where they can be
requested by visitors to view in person in our reading room, so a year from now or 100 years
from now people can see how COVID-19 impacted UNT and you.

So, please, think about keeping some record of your personal experience during this
unprecedented time – it will be incredibly important later. Here is a guide with tips on how to create that record and how to submit it to the University Archive.

If you have any questions about the University Archive or potential donations, please contact
Rachael Zipperer at

2 Responses to “Archiving the Pandemic: COVID-19”

  1. Sonia Dupre

    I have been reading newspapers in Spanish from several countries, for some reason that I do not know, some information in Spanish from Hispanic countries is published about a day or so before than in English and more complete. I believe that It is important to have a collection of these newspapers in Spanish. Thank you.
    Dr. Sonia Dupre

    • UNT Special Collections

      Thanks for this information, Dr. Dupre. Because our collection is focused on the University of North Texas specifically, these newspapers would be out of scope for this project. However, there are lots of other efforts to archive documentation of this crisis that might be a better home for those sources. For example, the International Internet Preservation Consortium is web-archiving resources from all over the world on COVID-19. You can learn more and suggest sites for them to add to their collection here

      UNT Special Collections


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