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Tobias Blanke (professor of Humanities and AI) and Julia Noordegraaf (professor of Digital Heritage) have taken the initiative to collect sources related to the COVID-19 crisis. This mainly involves collecting and archiving ephemeral sources that document how individuals and communities experience the corona crisis.

The aim is to quickly develop an application where citizens can upload their own documentation and share their experiences with this crisis, thus compiling a personal COVID-19 crisis diary. In the longer term, and with proper measures taken to ensure privacy, these may be interesting sources for public and participatory historiography with regard to this special period in the most recent world history. AI applications for transcribing speech and text and for annotating images can support the use of these sources in analyzing the way the crisis affects the everyday life of citizens and the outcomes can usefully be correlated with medical results.

Various initiatives have already been taken by, for example, archival institutions, museums, heritage institutions, documentation centers, libraries, artists' collectives, etc. to document the COVID-19 crisis. The UvA collaborates with the Dutch Digital Heritage Network through the National Library of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision and is currently compiling an overview of similar initiatives. Suggestions and interest for collaboration can be shared with the PI’s at the above addresses. 

prof. dr. J.J. (Julia) Noordegraaf

Faculty of Humanities

Capaciteitsgroep Media & Cultuur