What should I document? All of our lives have been reshaped the last weeks due to the current pandemic, and historians of the future will want to know how that looked and felt. What are some of the things that you are anxious or frustrated about right now (dealing with classes online, caring for loved ones, finding toilet paper, making ends meet)? What are some things you are thankful for (Skype cocktail dates with old friends, a helping hand from a neighbor, our nurses and doctors)? What are you noticing about everyday changes in the world around you? Remember that what might currently feel mundane to us is exactly what those in the future will want to know. Every person’s submission will be unique, because each our experiences will be unique.
Is there anything we should avoid writing about? This is a VERY important question. Since the Covid-19 pandemic is a public health crisis, if your submissions include the personal health information of yourself or others, this information is legally protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It is important to note that you must agree not to include personally identifiable health information about yourself or another person or persons, or information that could allow a third party to identify other people. This might include members of your family, neighbors, etc. IF you do so, your submission must be fully anonymized for both the submitter and any third parties identifiable in the submission. Please let us know if you have questions.
I’m a faculty member and I’d like to turn this into an assignment for my students, is there anything I need to know? It is important to note that you cannot in any way require, incentivize, or put any form of pressure on students to submit these projects to the archives. If you choose, you as a faculty member can simply make the students aware of the possibility to submit their projects at part of this project. You might say something like “This course assignment was inspired by this Covid-19 documentation project underway by the University Archives. If you’re interested, you can consider submitting your project to help document this historic time, but you are not required to do so for this course, and any participation by you in the Archives' project is entirely separate from your enrollment in and requirements for this course.”
What form of documentation do you prefer? We can accept any format, so please just choose one that suits you.
Can my submission include multiple formats? Yes! For example, you might have a written diary, but also want to include some photographs.
How often should I write? We don’t expect a set amount, just do as much (or as little) as you are able.
Can diary submissions be anonymous? Or can you just use my first name? Yes, we offer this option. We want all participants to feel comfortable to be honest in their submissions.
Can my submission be restricted from use for a period of time? Yes, we’re currently planning to offer the option to restrict materials for 5 years from the date of submission.
How frequently can/should I submit? This is up to you. If you want, you can send your submission in installments via the submission form or you can send it all at once when you are finished.
How do I submit? If your submission is in physical form (for example a handwritten diary) you're welcome to either drop it off at Special Collections in Doheny Memorial Library once we reopen, or mail it to the following address:
USC University Archives
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0189
When should I submit? At this point, this project is open ended as the situation continues to evolve. Please document for as long as you are willing and able.