Documenting COVID-19 at Columbia

Alma Mater in front of Low Library

The University Archives is collecting materials to document the coronavirus pandemic. The University’s official response is being recorded by saving communications, emails, websites and other documents. In addition to these materials, we are inviting faculty, students, alumni, librarians and staff of the university to help us document this crisis. We would like to hear how the Columbia community is experiencing and reflecting on these tumultuous times. We are looking for a diverse set of voices, hearing about your lived experience, and learning about your new everyday lives. Historians of the future will want to know how we spent our days.


Here is how you can contribute to these efforts:

  • Questionnaire: From April to August 2020, we invited CU community members to be active participants in documenting our community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by completing the Columbia University Archives COVID-19 Experience Questionnaire. Anonymous answers from this questionnaire will become part of a new Columbia University COVID-19 Collection in the University Archives. These responses are part of the first draft of history for future generations of Columbians looking back on this event and will help them understand what this challenging time was like.
  • Websites: The University Archives is currently archiving a number of Columbia websites with COVID-19 information and resources. If you would like to nominate additional Columbia sites that we should be archiving, please contact us at 

  • Oral History: You can also participate in the Columbia Center for Oral History Research NYC COVID-19 Oral History, Narrative and Memory Archive. Concentrating on New York City, this study uses surveys, interviews, and written testimonials to create a contemporaneous record of the city’s battle with COVID-19 across the epidemic curve. 
  • Share Your Story: In support of our documentation efforts, Columbia University Human Resouces (CUHR) invited all employees to contribute a story about their COVID-19 experience via their website. See stories submitted by faculty and staff about their personal experiences, view images of home working environments, and read shout outs of praise to Columbia’s frontline essential workers on the Columbia Together website.

For the latest Columbia COVID-19 updates and available resources, please consult the following sites: