A National Effort to Forge a Helpful Historical Resource in a Time of Uncertainty

With the COVID-19 global health crisis spreading on an enormous scale in such a short time, the need for proper documentation of this challenging moment in history is greater than ever. Northeastern’s College of Social Sciences and Humanities (CSSH) and the University Library have joined forces with an expansive network of historians, curators, and students in a nationwide effort to develop, curate, and maintain a #Covid19Archive digital repository.

This new digital repository will crowdsource images, oral histories, and more about the global experience of COVID-19 to create a lasting historical record of this unprecedented moment. The Library and CSSH have unique, deep experience in this realm. This project is directed by Victoria Cain, Associate Professor of History, and guided by Dan Cohen, Dean of the Northeastern Library, both of whom are distinguished leaders with decades-long expertise in curating digital historical collections. Professor Cain has previously led and contributed to a wide variety of public history projects, including the Encyclopedia of Boston, a digital encyclopedia of Boston linked to the Boston Research Center, while Dean Cohen helped establish and co-directed the September 11 Digital Archive, the nation’s first major digital archive of a historical event, now stored in the Library of Congress.

This program embodies the experiential liberal arts by combining teaching and research. Historians and students will work closely together in a unique instructional and learning environment to build an important historical resource by gathering items to add to the repository, curating exhibits, and analyzing data in the archive as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolds.

With the expertise of the Library in creating and preserving digital archives, our students are well poised to play a key role in the curation and development of the content in the archive itself. Together, we are building an important historical resource while creating a learning and research opportunity for students to develop valuable digital archiving, curation, and analysis skills.

Faculty Experts:

Dan Cohen, Vice Provost for Information, Dean of the Northeastern University Library, and Professor of History

Victoria Cain, Associate Professor of History

How you can get involved

If you’re looking to support this initiative, connect with Bethany Basile, Officer of Corporation and Foundation Advancement at b.basile@northeastern.edu.


The #Covid19Archive represents diverse experiences not limited to generations, socioeconomic statuses, or ethnic groups—and there are many ways you can help preserve this piece of our history. By submitting your story to the archives, you have a unique opportunity to make a real-time impact now and in the future.

Northeastern encourages and invites participation in and contributions to the archive from the global public. The archive represents diverse experiences from all members of our community, and our world. The more people who contribute, the more robust this archive will be. Make an impact by sharing your photos, experiences, and news articles—or anything that speaks to the paradoxes of the moment at covid19.omeka.net/contribution.

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