Archiving COVID-19

MHGS has started to archive materials related to the coronavirus pandemic in Sedgwick County.

How to help: Save and contribute items related to the pandemic or the stay-in-place order in Sedgwick County.  These can be signs, photographs, documents or other items. No Wichita Eagle articles, please.

  • Digital?  Email them to library@mhgswichita.org
  • Physical?  Hang on to them.  Depending on how long this lasts, we’ll either have you drop them off at the library when we reopen, or set up some sort of drop-off box on the library porch.

Here are my thoughts on how this will work:

Scope

Strictly, ruthlessly focused on Sedgwick County.  Even this is probably too big, but we’ll see.

Materials

  • Newspaper — I’m going to assume that the Wichita Eagle digital archive will be available in the future, and will not attempt to save Eagle articles
  • Facebook — I’m only preserving things that relate directly to Sedgwick County (like ad images for special takeout menus). Although it might be fascinating for future researchers, I don’t see any realistic way to preserve things like the comments on a post.
  • Radio and TV — I don’t know what to do about these.  In many cases, they are either reporting on the same things the paper is, or the story is based on an underlying source, like a press release, which I have been able to find and archive.  I am open to ideas here!
  • Websites — This is where I’m getting the bulk of my material so far.  Many organizations have created COVID-19 pages, and I will be taking periodic snapshots of these, as well as downloading any relevant supporting documents
  • Photographs — We need more images!  I’d like pictures of interesting signs, people, and places that show the impact of the pandemic or the stay-at-home order.

Coverage

A list of the organizations I am tracking (frequently updated — suggestions welcome!):

  • Sedgwick County
  • City of Wichita
  • City of Haysville
  • City of Goddard
  • City of Park City
  • City of Valley Center
  • City of Bel Aire
  • City of Maize
  • City of Cheney
  • City of Derby
  • City of Clearwater
  • City of Mulvane
  • Wichita Public Schools
  • Wichita Public Library
  • Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School
  • Bishop Carroll Catholic High School
  • Trinity Academy
  • Independent School
  • Collegiate School
  • Wichita State University
  • Newman University
  • Friends University
  • McConnell AFB
  • IAMAW
  • Regent Park Rehabilitation & Healthcare
  • Dillons Food Stores
  • The Cleaning Authority
  • Wichita Festivals/Riverfest
  • Music Theatre of Wichita
  • Union Rescue Mission
  • Kansas Humane Society
  • Wichita Art Museum
  • Vanya Designs
  • Wichita Chamber of Commerce
  • Target
  • Wichita-Sedgwick County Historical Museum
  • Wesley Hospital
  • INTRUST Bank

Formats

  • Webpages — I am using Chrome’s “Print to PDF” to create PDF files from individual web pages.  I investigated fancier web archiving techniques, but decided on the fast and simple approach, both to let me work quickly now, and also to simplify future archive maintenance and access.  These PDFs don’t preserve the exact layout of a website, but they do get all the text and most of the images (those carousel things where several images rotate automatically don’t get captured.)
  • Video — I’ve found a little program that enables me to download YouTube and Facebook videos, so I am cautiously beginning to add those.  They are real space hogs, so I’m trying to be judicious.  The funny one from Cowtown was a no-brainer, of course.
  • Documents — So far, all the documents I’ve found are either PDF or DOCX, so I’m keeping them in their original format.  If something odd comes up, I’ll try to convert to PDF.
  • Images — As with documents, I’m keeping these in their original formats.

Availability

Currently, the digital archive is not publicly available. I don’t want there to be any chance that someone doing a Google search for, say,  information from the Wichita Public Schools, might accidentally land on one of our archived pages and miss the latest information on their page.  Once the pandemic has passed, we can open the archive for research.

If you need access now, email me at library@mhgswichita.org and I can set you up with temporary access.