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News Stories

Help the Bentley Archive U-M’s Pandemic Experiences

To document the different experiences of the University of Michigan community during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bentley Historical Library is encouraging University of Michigan community members–including students, staff, and faculty, on campus and at Michigan Medicine–to document their personal experiences during the coronavirus outbreak and contribute them to the University Archives. When future students, scholars, and researchers want to understand what it was like at the University of Michigan during the pandemic, the materials preserved by the Bentley will provide a first person account.

Submission Process

To submit items to the Bentley, please fill out this form. A Google login is required (either Gmail or UMICH email).  Please email bentleycv19@umich.edu for alternative submission methods, if necessary. Your email address will not be shared or sold. We will ask you to sign an agreement allowing the Bentley Historical Library to preserve your submission, and you will receive important information about the copyright and use of your content. The Bentley is not obligated to keep everything that is submitted. You can fill out the form as many times as you like. This project is focused on submissions from individuals or small groups of people. If you work for a University unit and have questions about preserving your office’s records at the Bentley, please contact umrecords@umich.edu.

We can accept a variety of formats, including Photos (jpg, png), Videos (mp4, mov), Audio (mp3), and Text (txt, pdf, docx, doc) files – anything that could normally be uploaded to Google Drive. If you want to donate a physical printed or written item, submit a digital photo and indicate that you wish to give it to the Bentley in the description field of the form. Bentley staff will contact you when we are able to collect physical material

If your submissions are work you created with other people, such as interviews or group projects, we will also need permission from anyone else who contributed. Please have any co-authors or fellow contributors (including students, classmates, friends, and family members) fill out the Google form as well. If we do not receive releases from all participants we cannot keep the materials. Only one person needs to attach the files to the form — co-creators can simply fill in their personal information along with a description of the materials.

Submissions will not be available to the public immediately. They will be made available following review and processing by Bentley Historical Library staff.

What to Submit

What you share about your experience during this time period is up to you. Here are some (but not all!!) ideas about what to submit:

Students

  • Course assignments you completed related to the pandemic
  • Photos or videos from moving off-campus, or staying in Ann Arbor
  • Communications with your family about what was happening as campus was closed
  • Communications with administrators or faculty members negotiating issues related to travel, internships, visa status, living arrangements, food and dining
  • Student organization activities that may continue over a distance, or volunteer work done in response to the pandemic
  • Reactions to campus events being canceled or delayed (ex: graduation, spring sports season, theater or musical performances, trips)
  • Your remote learning experience or how your classes changed when they went virtual

Faculty

  • Redesigned course materials for remote delivery, new assignments, syllabus changes
  • Communication with your students and colleagues
  • Plans for pausing or adapting research projects while campus is closed

Staff

  • Work you did on-campus as an essential employee
  • Experiences in student services such as dining halls, dormitories, and other services shut down
  • Messages of encouragement from co-workers and the community
  • Changes to your job due to working remotely 

Health Care Providers and Patients

  • Your experiences preparing for or treating Covid-19 patients
  • The effect on your work with patients who need medical care unrelated to Covid-19
  • How your workplace, schedule, or job duties have changed 
  • Your experience being treated for or recovering from the virus

General

  • Journal or diary entries about the impact of the pandemic on your life
  • Interviews with friends or family members
  • A description of your schedule or routine during quarantine/shelter-in-place
  • Photos of your new work space
  • What it’s like to work at an essential business or organization

Acknowledgements

Aspects of this project were adapted from similar efforts by the Michigan State University Archives, University of North Carolina Charlotte Special Collections and University Archives, and the University of Virginia Library Digital Collecting Toolkit