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Purdue University Northwest Archives and Special Collections

Purdue University Northwest (PNW) Archives and Special Collections mission is to identify, collect, preserve, and make accessible to researchers materials pertaining to the history of PNW.

PNW COVID 19 Archive Project

To the Northwest Indiana Community

We are dealing with a unique historical moment as we respond as a state, nation, and world to this pandemic. At the Purdue University Northwest Archives and Special Collections, we want to add your story of how you and your loved ones are experiencing the current “new normal.” What exactly was the local, lived experience of a global pandemic from day to day and week to week? We invite you to keep a log of living during the COVID-19 epidemic in Northwest Indiana.

How you can participate

You may decide to create writings, take photos, create art, videos, whatever outlet best works for you.  The emphasis is on self-expression and willingness to be a primary resource for the future. We can accept any format or multiple formats, so please just chose one that suits you.  For example, you might have a written diary but also want to include some photographs or a video. Anything you can think of that is significant can be submitted. Working from home, caring for your loved ones, being an essential employee, anything going on right now. Our lives have been reshaped very abruptly due to this pandemic and historians in the future will want to know how it was to the average person. The everyday life is what future historians will be looking for. Every person’s submission will be unique, and we don’t expect a set amount of materials. We really want to hear from our neighbors in Northwest Indiana, we are a unique area in our state, and sometimes feel underrepresented.  This is a grassroots movement that will allow us to tell the world how we dealt with COVID-19.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic is a public health crisis, it is likely that your submissions will include the personal health information of yourself or others. This information is legally protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).  At the time of submission, you will be asked to agree to release this information to the public.  Only then will we accept any works. Since this is a public health issue, you must be over 18 to participate

It’s important to note that you must agree not to include personally identifiable health information about another person or persons, or information that could allow a third party to identify other people. This might include members of your family, neighbors, etc. If you do so, there are a couple of options: the 3rd party must separately submit the Personal Health Information Agreement, or your submission must be fully anonymized for both the submitter and any third parties identifiable in the submission. 

Questions and Contact Information

Please contact the University Archivist, Joseph Coates,  with an email titled “COVID-19 JOURNAL” for any questions you may have . In order to submit anything, please fill out this form. This release form must be filled out before we can accept anything. If your submission is in physical form (for example a handwritten diary) you're welcome to either drop it off at the PNW Archives once we reopen or mail it to the following address: 

Joseph Coates, University Archives
LSF 245
1401 S. U.S. 421
Westville, IN 46391
Joseph Coates, University Archivist
SULB 200
2200 169th St
Hammond, Indiana  46323

When should I submit?

At this point, this project is open ended as the situation continues to evolve. Please document for as long as you are willing and able. If you still have remaining questions, please email

This project draws inspiration from history of Mass Observation which can be found here: 


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