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Documenting COVID-19

Instructions on documenting your COVID-19 experience to donate to Special Collections


Graphic of camera, microphone, and journalThis project has officially closed. If you are interested in donating materials to the University Archives, please contact Amy Allen or for Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts, please contact Virginia Siegel

Special Collections and Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts seek to preserve the personal experiences of University of Arkansas students, faculty, and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Publicly released U of A wide announcements and policies are already being preserved.

You can help by volunteering to participate in this project to tell personal stories.


Alternately, if you are a UA administrator and would like to help preserve official records, please contact University Archivist, Amy Allen at

Types of Materials

The method that you use to record your experiences can take different forms.

Some suggestions include:

  • A journal or blog of your thoughts and experiences
  • Taking photos and/or videos of life as you see it
  • Recording voice memos
  • Interviewing friends or family for an oral history - see additional oral history guidelines below 
  • Saving social media posts - use the free tool and export files in .warc format
  • Collecting (and saving as pdfs) emails that Arkansas-based businesses or organizations send you about COVID-19 related closings or precautions

Topics of interest include but are not limited to stories about remote learning at the University, off-campus jobs (in retail, the service industry, grocery stores, etc.), the ways you are staying in touch with family and friends during this period of social distancing and self-quarantine, the challenges for international students or those with families abroad, experiences of faculty and staff working remotely, experiences of staff who remain on campus, and how this event is impacting you.

Oral Histories

If you would like to conduct an oral history, you can interview a friend or family member remotely, interview someone within your household, or conduct a self-oral history and record your own answers to oral history questions. 

If you are interviewing others, please practice all recommended guidelines for social distancing to keep yourself and those around you safe.

Some general guidelines for interviews can be found at the Oral History Association

Below you will find some basic tips and sample interview questions; however, feel free to make up your own questions.

Alternately, Virginia Siegel, Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts Coordinator, is available to conduct interviews remotely. She will also be conducting interviews with community members outside the U of A and around Arkansas. If you would like to suggest an individual to interview or have questions about conducting your own oral history interview, please email her at the contact information below.

Virginia Siegel

Donation Form

  • Please sign a donation agreement for any materials you are donating. Note: Materials becoming part of the archives will be available for public research. If you do not want materials available to the public, contact the University Archivist, Amy Allen, at to discuss potentially restricting materials for a specified time.
  • If you interview other people in the course of your documentation, we will also need their permission so that we can preserve and share the recordings with future researchers. Please have any friends, family members, or community members fill out Oral History Deed of Gift form if you wish to record with them.

Note: If we do not receive releases from you and all other participants we cannot preserve the materials.

Oral History Forms

If you are submitting an oral history, please fill out the Oral History Deed of Gift and the Participant Information Form and include these with your submission.


  • Please use standard formats, such as Word, pdf, tiff, jpeg, mp3, wav, mp4, mov, m4a, and warc
  • This project is meant to document activities and thoughts of your life during this time. Please follow all recommended guidelines for protecting the health and safety of yourself, your loved ones, and your community. Be aware of social distancing best practices while self-documenting and stay at least 6 feet away from any people you wish to interview, wash your hands frequently with soap and water, cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue or the inside of your elbow, and stay home if you feel sick (as recommended by the CDC)
  • Donated materials will be evaluated by the Documenting COVID-19 Project Team. Special Collections may elect to sample specific categories of materials. Certain materials for which Special Collections believes it cannot take custody due to preservation, copyright, or privacy concerns will not be retained. 
  • If you have questions about a particular project or appropriate file formats, please contact the University Archivist, Amy Allen,

Submission Form

This project has officially closed. If you are interested in donating materials to the University Archives, please contact Amy Allen or for Arkansas Folk and Traditional Arts, please contact Virginia Siegel

  • You can transfer materials and donation forms using this Google Form.

We know that the pandemic has affected our community emotionally, physically, spiritually, mentally, and financially. Please visit the U of A's Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) for mental health resources on how to manage COVID-19 related stress and anxiety.


These guidelines were adapted from the UNC Charlotte University Archives