In the past few months, Covid-19 has been a disruptive force impacting societies and their economies globally. The crisis has undoubtedly affected higher education and cultural heritage institutions which, within a short timeframe, had to close their physical buildings and operate mostly in the digital environment. However, despite the shift in working routines and practices and the challenges associated with this, the important role that institutions, such as research libraries, and their services have in society soon became apparent.
Collecting contemporary material related to the Covid-19 crisis has been also deemed by many as a way to support their institutional – staff, academics and students – and broader communities in the long term. Documenting institutional responses to the pandemic as well as the experiences of different groups in society can prove useful for research, teaching, and other activities that can encourage communities to critically reflect on what happened and, most importantly, produce lessons learned for the future.
Responding to its members’ needs, RLUK developed a programme of activity, Capturing Covid-19, which aims to understand the impact of the pandemic on its member institutions. As part of the programme, a short survey was also launched in May 2020 to investigate RLUK institutions’ plans to collect material related to the Covid-19 crisis.
This report presents the results of the survey which are complemented by data gathered from online and social media research conducted by RLUK to identify the launch of relevant projects and initiatives led by RLUK institutions on contemporary collecting.