Center Launches Documenting COVID-19 Project

by Christopher Harter, Deputy Director

Cafe Rue de la Course at the corner of Oak Street and Carrollton Avenue in New Orleans. Photograph taken March 30, 2020.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Amistad Research Center is launching the Documenting COVID-19 Project to chronicle aspects of the pandemic’s effects around the world. We invite the community to help by participating in this project. A project description follows.

Our Purpose – What We Are Collecting

The Documenting COVID-19 Project is a digital archive that will preserve and provide freely available access to community-generated original content created in the wake of the 2020 global coronavirus outbreak. The goal of this initiative is to document diverse perspectives of these events as experienced by citizens around the world, and to create a resource for educators, researchers, students and the public.

We invite community members to contribute original digital content, such as images, sound recordings and video related to public signage, contributor-generated and public art, and similar forms of expression. All contributed content is subject to an evaluation process before it is made publicly available. Materials containing criminal content or unrelated content will not be accepted. More information for contributors is located at the end of this information sheet.

Contributing - How We Are Collecting

Individuals and groups can contribute digital content via email to:

Please include with your submission:

  • What you are submitting – is it image, recording or video?

  • Description of the digital content (jpg, tif, mov, mp3, etc.)

  • Creator information (if you wish to remain anonymous, let us know)

  • Creator email (if you wish to remain anonymous, let us know)

  • Date the image, recording or video was taken

  • Description of the image, recording or video

  • Geographic location of where digital content was taken, if available

File size content is limited to 30MB. For larger sizes, please email us at


The Amistad Research Center places the highest importance on the health and safety of our patrons, community partners and staff. We ask the following of those who elect to contribute to this project:

  1. Do not collect physical objects – digital images, sound recordings and video only at this time.

  2. Please obey all orders from local, state and federal authorities regarding the current stay-at-home orders and social distancing measures. In the interest of social distancing, no personal interviews at this time.

Thank you for your help. Your contributions to this project will assist future generations to better understand these turbulent times.

Documenting COVID-19 Project Digital Archive Terms & Conditions

(last updated March 31, 2020)

By submitting your contribution, you grant a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to the Amistad Research Center to preserve, reproduce and distribute your work as part of the Documenting COVID-19 Project. This permission includes the right to modify your material to conform to the goals of the Project, to reformat it as necessary in order to preserve its perceptibility and usefulness, and to make it available for educational, research and promotional purposes outside of the Project, in perpetuity and in all media formats. This license does not authorize exploitation of your contribution for profit or commercial use. The Project has no obligation to use or publish your contribution. You retain ownership of and copyright in the material you share.

Material you submit must have been created by you, wholly original, and shall not be copied from or based upon any other photographic, literary or other material, except to the extent that such material is in the public domain, or you have permission of the copyright owner, or its use is allowed by “Fair Use” as prescribed by the terms of United States copyright law (cf. Title 17 of the U.S. Code).

In granting this permission, you warrant that you are 18 years of age or older and have the full power and authority to consent to this agreement, that your submission does not infringe any existing copyright or contain any libelous matter, nor invade any third-party rights of privacy or publicity. You also agree to defend and hold harmless Amistad Research Center, its board of directors and employees against all claims, demands and expenses including attorneys’ fees incurred for any and all claims of copyright infringement or any other legal or regulatory course of action arising from the use of your material.

Third-Party Use The Amistad Research Center does not hold copyright in the material in the Documenting COVID-19 archive. As such, the Amistad Research Center is not able to grant licenses to or approve requests from third parties to make use of content in the collection. Contributors may elect to display contact information, and it is the user’s responsibility to obtain any necessary permission from the copyright holder(s). In the interest of gathering statistics on third-party interest in and use of the material in the Documenting COVID-19 archive, the Center may ask third-parties to complete a short information form. Contact for rights-related questions or, in certain cases, referral to the original contributor regarding use of their content.

Approval Criteria

  • Content is related to the events surrounding the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

  • Metadata submitted is deemed to be accurate by the administrator.

  • Users have the right to submit content and submission does not infringe any existing copyright.

  • Content does not provide personal information of the contributor or any other individual, including addresses, phone numbers, etc.

  • Content does not endorse any commercial product.

  • Content does not pose a risk of damage to the network, computers or servers of Amistad Research Center or the Center's host, Tulane Unversity.

Documenting COVID-19 Project Team

Phillip Cunningham, Head of Research Services

Brenda Flora, Curator of Moving Images and Recorded Sound

Hsiu-Ann Tom, Digital Archivist

Adapted From

This project is adapted, with permission, from the Documenting Ferguson project created by the University Libraries at Washington University in St. Louis.

Sidewalk art in New Orleans has increased with children home due to school closures. Photograph taken on Cadiz Street, March 31, 2020.
The Kolache Kitchen on Freret Street in New Orleans. Photograph taken March 31, 2020.

#DocCOVID19 #COVID19 #DigitalArchive

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