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COVID-19 Community History Project

This page is designed to support the community history project to document the COVID-19 experience of Minnesota State University, Mankato students, employees, friends and family and community members.

FAQ

I am a Member of the Mankato Community (or 12 Country Region around Mankato), Can I Participate? 

We are accepting individual experiences and oral history interviews for this project.  

Requirements for Individual Contributions:

  • Affiliated with Minnesota State University, Mankato OR be a resident of one of the twelve counties covered by the Southern Minnesota Historical Center (Blue Earth, Brown, Faribault, Freeborn, Le Sueur, Martin, Nicollet, Rice, Sibley, Steele, Waseca, and Watonwan).
  • Accompanied by a signed donor agreement.  See the Forms page.
  • Be an approved format (digital) or size (physical items).  See Resources for Project page for specific details.
  • If you'd like to provide an immediate written response to the questions, you can use "Your COVID-19 Story" page.
  • You can also sign up to have an Oral History interview done on our How to Participate page. 

 

Do I need Special Equipment or Software to Participate?

No, you can use your personal devices (e.g. computer, phone) to record audio and video with the factory installed software.  Zoom is a great university provided software tool that can record and automatically generate transcripts of your video interview.  Otter.ai is another option for recording and as an added bonus, it will transcribe the recording for you, too.  Be sure to review the File Format Specifications on the How to Submit page.  If you have specific software or equipment questions, contact the archives@mnsu.edu

 

Do the Individual Experiences have to be submitted in English or Do the Oral History interviews have to be conducted in English?

No.  Individual experiences and Oral history Interviews may be conducted in any language. We request that a translation is provided if possible.  We also ask that you identify the language if the materials are in a language other than English. 

 

Do the Oral History interviews have to be conducted in-Person?

No.  Oral History interviews should be done at a distance using a phone or other electronic device and/or by using programs like Zoom or Otter.ai.  In the current situation, we highly recommend avoiding face to face in-person interviews.  If you can only conduct an interview in-person, we ask that you strictly follow Social Distancing Guidelines established by the CDC when conducting an in-person interview AND/OR encourage the person to fill out the Your COVID-19 Story instead of conducting an in-person Oral History interview.  We do not expect you to travel to conduct in-person interviews. 

 

What about Privacy concerns?

We value and respect your right to privacy. 

The purpose of this project is to document self-experiences in the form of a community history project to help record our daily lived experiences during the COVID-19 Pandemic. To expand access and understanding about the COVID-19 Pandemic experience to current and future individuals, the University Archives will collect documentation and accept voluntary donations on the COVID-19 Pandemic experiences for inclusion in the Archives.  These voluntary materials will be made available through our physical and digital collections.  Archives staff will organize and describe the materials and make them available in acceptable forms and places at a later date.  

If you review our donor forms, you will see that you have some options you can select when you voluntarily participate in this project:

  1. I would not like my Individual experience (or oral history) placed online
  2. I would like my material restricted for 10 years from date of submission
  3. You can use my material, but I’d like to remain anonymous

We want you to be comfortable in donating your materials, so if you have concerns about sharing your personal experiences or oral history interview, send us an email at archives@mnsu.edu

FAQ for Student Workers

I'm not comfortable sharing my personal experience as part of the weekly assignment.  Do I have other options?

Yes.  We do not want anyone to contribute their experience who does not feel comfortable doing so.  We have a couple of other suggestions on what you can do weekly, but would welcome your creativity.  Please talk with your supervisor if you have ideas.  Current ideas:

  • Take photos of "your" places in Mankato and on Campus - Caption them.  Consider including what's different now (if anything). 
  • News of the Day - What news sources are you following to stay current with the pandemic? Consider listing them and identifying articles (cite in a style manual of your choice), videos, posts, etc. that you read or found informative that week.  Visit the Library Citation Guide for help in citing your sources.
  • Provide a personal reflection of how you believe society has reacted to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and the resulting changes, that you have witnessed. 
  • Take photos or video from the campus and community that document the COVID-19 changes you've seen.  

 

So I can take Photographs as part of a project? 

Yes!  Taking photographs is one way to document new or shared experiences.  If you are taking photographs for your project, please use the Photograph Release Form to record information about the photograph(s).  If you are taking photographs that have people in them, please ASK permission to take their photograph.  If the photograph has children under the age of 18, please ASK their parents for permission before taking the photograph.  You might want to consider having the people sign a photo release form like the one found here.  You do not need to use a photo release form when taking pictures or video of a large group.  Avoid taking photographs that have identifying information in them (such as license plates, house/street addresses and names). 

Additionally, if you take photographs, please add a caption or statement below each photograph to describe the contents and/or consider adding an Artist's Statement.  An artist’s statement is a short written piece accompanying your artwork that describes your work and helps to communicate to others what it is and how and why you created it.  For an overview of what an artist's statement can include, see this guide by Sarah Hotchkiss.  For examples of artists' statements, visit Cornerstone to see some statements written by students in the Art Department at Minnesota State University, Mankato. 

 

Can I do a drawing or sketch or any kind of artwork for this project?

Yes!  Creative works such as drawings or sketches or even paintings, graphic novels, or comics are all potential project ideas.  If you are doing a work of art, please limit your canvas size to 12 inches by 12 inches AND include an artist's statement with your submission. 

An artist’s statement is a short written piece accompanying your artwork that describes your work and helps to communicate to others what it is and how and why you created it.  For an overview of what an artist's statement can include, see this guide by Sarah Hotchkiss.  For examples of artists' statements, visit Cornerstone to see some statements written by students in the Art Department at Minnesota State University, Mankato. 

 

Can I Post the Personal Experiences or Oral History Interviews that I Conduct on My Own Webpages or Share them on Social Media Sites?

No.  Above all, respect the PRIVACY of the person you are interviewing.  NEVER share their experiences with anyone else.  Do not share on any form of social media or a personal website what someone has said in their interview with you.  These reflections can be both painful or have a happy ending, and it is up to the person to decide where and when they want to share something.  This is one purpose of our donor forms.  We want the interviewee to be comfortable sharing their story with the Archives and campus community and it is their choice.  Do not try to persuade an individual to share their story online or to allow you to post the materials.  You are just collecting the materials for the Archives.  Archives staff will gather, organize and describe the materials and make them available in acceptable forms and places at a later date.

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