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E.L. Quarantelli Resource Collection Spotlight

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COVID Collections Project Roundtable

During the spring of 2020, as COVID-19 began to dominate the global agenda, museums, libraries, and archives around the world announced efforts to document human experiences of illness, isolation, economic downturn, fear, adaptation, and solidarity. These efforts ranged widely in scale and methods, from local historical societies seeking personal reflections to large scale, federally-funded oral history projects. 

All of them sought to preserve narratives, documents, or artifacts of a global crisis, and so they provoke questions about how we remember disaster—and how we preserve those memories. What will become of these various collecting efforts, and how will scholars be able to locate them effectively? What are archivists and oral historians learning about documenting disaster and pandemic, even as the event stretches on?

This panel discussion will feature representatives from three documentation projects: A Journal of the Plague Year, a curatorial consortium of archival collections that reflect localized and thematic collecting across the U.S. and the world; Lothian Lockdown: The Lothian Diary Project, comprising individual video/audio diaries created by residents of the Lothian region of Scotland; and Signs of the Times: Documenting Covid-19 Signs in Southern Maine, a collection of crowd-sourced photographs of signs and messages created in response to the pandemic.

Read more and watch the recording here:

Past Spotlights

Tornado Memes

Digital Collection - Disaster Memes

Over the past few months, Collection staff have begun collecting disaster-related memes in order to catalog this important mechanism of information spread for researchers and practitioners interested in risk communication, the spread of misinformation, disaster media studies, and other related topics. 

Planning is underway for this exciting addition to the resource collection, and more information will be available in the coming months! Our disaster meme collection is currently being processed for acquisition and will be searchable through the Search DISCAT link on the E.L. Quarantelli Resource Collection page of the DRC website as materials become available, beginning early Fall 2020. In the meantime, please direct any questions or comments to

This Is Chance! Book release date 3/24/2020

​Release date March 24, 2020

This Is Chance! The Shaking of an All-American City, A Voice That Held It Together

Jon Mooallem, Random House

Throughout 2017, author Jon Mooallem spent extensive time on-site at the E.L. Quarantelli Resource Collection researching 

Featured in the New York Times | Opinion: "This Is How You Live When the World Falls Apart" The Great Alaska Earthquake of 1964 surprised everyone by showing that natural disasters can bring out more kindness than selfishness.

From the publisher: "In the spring of 1964, Anchorage, Alaska, was a modern-day frontier town yearning to be a metropolis—the largest, proudest city in a state that was still brand-new. But just before sundown on Good Friday, the community was jolted by the most powerful earthquake in American history, a catastrophic 9.2 on the Richter Scale. For four and a half minutes, the ground lurched and rolled. Streets cracked open and swallowed buildings whole. And once the shaking stopped, night fell and Anchorage went dark. The city was in disarray and sealed off from the outside world.

Slowly, people switched on their transistor radios and heard a familiar woman’s voice explaining what had just happened and what to do next. Genie Chance was a part-time radio reporter and working mother who would play an unlikely role in the wake of the disaster, helping to put her fractured community back together. Her tireless broadcasts over the next three days would transform her into a legendary figure in Alaska and bring her fame worldwide—but only briefly. That Easter weekend in Anchorage, Genie and a cast of endearingly eccentric characters—from a mountaineering psychologist to the local community theater group staging Our Town—were thrown into a jumbled world they could not recognize. Together, they would make a home in it again."

The Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage (IICAH) in Erbil, Iraq.

The Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage (IICAH) Archive

May 16, 2018 - The E.L. Quarantelli Resource Collection is pleased to announce the arrival of The Iraqi Institute for the Conservation of Antiquities and Heritage (IICAH) Archive, developed in partnership with the University of Delaware’s Art Conservation Department through the work of Art Conservation student Taylor Pearlstein. A cross-section of resources is featured on the Iraqi Institute Archive page.

​Photo credit: Nova Scotia Archives

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