University of Ottawa Library COVID-19 Telling Her-Stories project / Bibliothèque uOttawa projet COVID-19 Elle, ses histories

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University of Ottawa Library COVID-19 Telling Her-Stories project / Bibliothèque uOttawa projet COVID-19 Elle, ses histories

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2020-

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Telling her-stories in Canada: Documenting COVID-19 in your voice
The University of Ottawa Library is working on a small scale pilot project to build a unique and special collection around your stories and experiences of and during the COVID-19 pandemic as a woman in Canada. The Library is currently home to the Women’s Archives, an invaluable resource for those examining the history of women in Canada. By actively collecting the stories of how the pandemic has impacted you, we can ensure that the historical record of the pandemic will include your stories, voices, and perspectives.

Why is this important?
History has often overlooked the experience of women. Her-stories have been invisible and oftentimes little is known about the true impact of major events on the lives of women (told from their own perspective). The content you share will let us hear your voice and share your experience with others now and in the future. Through your stories, we can understand your successes, struggles, happiness, and disappointments as well as how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you, for example, in terms of economics, health, career, unpaid care work, and domestic violence, etc.

Women throughout Canada will be given the opportunity to upload their content to a platform where it will be captured, preserved, and made available to researchers as part of the Women’s Archives collections at the Library’s Archives and Special Collections unit. Traditionally, archives have passively waited for donors to reach out to them with records for donation, however, in this case, we will actively approach the community for contributions and donors will be able to quickly upload their content directly through a specially designed platform. This approach is currently being implemented by GLAMs across Canada and the U.S. who understand the magnitude of the pandemic and the importance of capturing people’s immediate response. Our team has designed the platform using the open-source web publishing system called Omeka. With the help of our supporters and community of users, we will reach out to our target community of women across the country and from all different backgrounds and experiences. Once content has been uploaded to the platform, it will be reviewed, described, processed for preservation, and made available long-term to those interested in the topic. The content will become part of the Library’s Women’s Archives collections and accessible on the Library’s website and archives collection database.

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