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[๐—ง๐—›๐—ฅ๐—˜๐—”๐——] Documenting your #pandemic experience.

I had a great former student contact me asking how they could document their experience for future historians and it led me to think about that. I am sure that @UkNatArchives and @USNatArchives can add ideas!
First, ANYTHING you do to document literally ANY aspect of your experience will be helpful to future scholars studying this event.

Don't add to your own stress by thinking that you have to capture everything. If you choose to document, just start and you can + or - later.
Second, consider the format. We have access to a ton of digital information and ways to record our lives. However, it's still unclear to what extent those things will be accessible in 20-30 years. Hard copies will always be a useful source. Think about hand writing or
printing out your project (now or when things hopefully return to normal).

I suspect that we will always be able to digitize analog documents, but think about how hard it is to use a floppy disk or tape cassette now (same applies to software).
For digital items like email, texts, etc, you could print them as PDFs or copy and paste into a Word document (which would be easier to print).

Those with more expertise likely have other digital solutions (.txt, .rtf) but I don't want to get too complicated.
๐—˜๐˜…๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜. As I said, do what is manageable (and useful for you.) If your record/diary is just there to help with your mental health, that's fine. You could still choose to share that later and it would be important.

The following are some things you could add:
๐—•๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ด๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฝ๐—ต๐˜†. At the beginning, include a brief biography of yourself. Who are you? What is your background? How are you engaging with the pandemic? Are you a private citizen? Healthcare worker? etc.

This will help any future reader to better situate your observations.
๐—ข๐—ฟ๐—ด๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ถ๐˜‡๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป. You can organize your record/diary/log however you like (see above). If you are someone professionally involved in the response, you might consider a section on that effort and perhaps a personal or family section. But, it's up to you.
๐—˜๐—น๐—ฒ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐˜€. What should you put it in your record? Anything you want. Some diarists include all kinds of minutiae (weather, finances, harvests, etc.) You decide what you want to put in. Remember, you can always add if you decide to. Just good to think about beforehand.
๐—–๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฑ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ฒ. Some of the most interesting primary sources are messages between people. These can be professional or personal. Today, this could be letters, emails, texts, visual voicemail.

It can be really great to see what others are saying.
๐—ก๐—ฒ๐˜„๐˜€. It may seem certain that news will be archived. However, maybe not. You can download, screenshot, or print to PDF relevant news. This could be your local news, items that affect you, or big national news. It also helps to put your experience into context.
๐——๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐˜‚๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐˜๐˜€. You may come into contact with lots of documents. Official announcements, work-related items, policies, etc. It may be well worth it to capture these. I'm not saying steal classified information, but any and all official responses would be interesting.
๐—ฃ๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜๐—ผ๐˜€. Images are sources! Consider an iPhoto (or similar) gallery where you keep pandemic related photos. Also, consider capturing them where you see them (signs, changes to daily life, street scenes, social distancing).
Lots of folks in the past have done this and they can provide examples. For the present, I highly recommend @HC_Richardson's "Letters from an American" as a great example of one approach.

heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/about
Samuel Pepys kept a diary, part of which covered the Great Plague in 17th century London. You can interact with it here.

pepysdiary.com
Victor Klemperer was a Jew in hiding in Berlin who kept a diary from 1933-1941.

amazon.co.uk/dp/0753806843/โ€ฆ
Mary Chesnut was a Southern woman who kept a diary during the American Civil War.

docsouth.unc.edu/southlit/chesnโ€ฆ
If you have gotten this far, congrats! Don't worry about dissemination at this moment, just document what you can/want to. Future historians will be grateful. It's rare we get a chance to try to tell primary sources what we would like. (Don't forget DATES!!!!!)
Historians, archivists, librarians, archives, public historians, etc, feel free to add on to this thread. I hope it is relatively on point and helpful.

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