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U Of U Creates Digital Archive For Coronavirus History

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Staff at the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah have created a new digital archive specifically for preserving moments from the coronavirus pandemic in history.

“If you are sitting in rural Utah, or if you’re in a big city, you are being affected by this in some way,” said Jeremy Myntti, head of digital services at the Marriott Library.

He’s overseeing the effort to preserve this unprecedented time in the state, nation and world.

From social distancing to new fashion accessories, empty businesses and homes turned into schools, the list of how the virus has affected many of us can seem endless.

Additionally, Utah experienced a magnitude 5.7 earthquake and numerous aftershocks during the pandemic.

“This will go down in the history books, along with all of the big events that you read about in history books. This is just another one of those and it’s affecting everybody in some way or another,” Myntti said.

The Utah COVID-19 Digital Collection was created to document the state’s response and two projects will be created: the Utah COVID-19 Digital Photograph Project and the Utah COVID-19 Story Project.

“There’s really been a nationwide movement to preserve and archive materials related to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Anna Neatrour, digital initiatives librarian at the Marriott Library.

Dozens of people have already shared photos. One showed a family separated in their own home because of the coronavirus.

Another featured encouraging messages posted on a sign and works of art drawn on sidewalks and driveways in every neighborhood.

Others showed fabric and sewing machines, along with the willing hands who were working to help protect others with masks.

A handful of pictures showed the unique way Utahns have gathered for dinner or work meetings.

“It really ranges between lighthearted content and supermarket social distancing, empty shelves to some serious, really frightening moments for families to deal with,” said Rachel Wittmann, a digital curation librarian at the Marriott Library. “Just anything about how your daily life has changed for yourself or within your community.”

Each person and each family will have a different story to tell. Some are painful, while others are joyful. Experiences that may seem endless now, but at some point will become a moment to remember.

“What you’re doing is you’re making history,” Myntti said.

The new digital archive is free and open to the public. You can share your stories and photos here.

See the latest numbers and information from the Utah Coronavirus Task Force here.


Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov.

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