A screenshot of the NLM Global Health Events web archive page on ArchiveIt.

Archiving Web Content on the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

By Christie Moffatt ~


COVID-19 is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.
Get the latest public health information from CDC: https://www.coronavirus.gov/
Get the latest research information from NIH: https://www.nih.gov/coronavirus/


A colorized image of a virus.
“This scanning electron microscope image shows SARS-CoV-2 (yellow)—also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus that causes COVID-19—isolated from a patient in the U.S., emerging from the surface of cells (blue/pink) cultured in the lab.” Courtesy NIAID-RML

The National Library of Medicine is archiving web and social media documenting the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as part of the Library’s ongoing Global Health Events web archive collection. NLM’s Web Collecting and Archiving Working Group began this effort on January 30 when the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), and will continue to develop the collection throughout its duration.  This work follows NLM’s earlier Global Health Events archive collecting related to the 2014 Ebola Outbreak, the 2016 Zika Virus Outbreak, and more.

The Working Group is archiving content documenting the international, federal, state, and local government response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak as well as social media communications using popular hashtags.  NLM will continue and expand this effort to document a broad range of perspectives, reactions, and response to the pandemic in support of future research and understanding of this global health event.

This work is supported by the Collection Development Guidelines of the NLM , which considers Web sites, blogs, social media and other web content to play an increasingly important role in documenting the scholarly biomedical record and illustrating a diversity of cultural perspectives in health and medicine. NLM will continue to develop, review, describe, and add content related to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak to the Global Health Events web archive and welcomes recommendations for additional content to include.  For more information about NLM’s Web collecting efforts, please visit https://www.nlm.nih.gov/webcollecting/.

A screenshot of the NLM Global Health Events web archive page on ArchiveIt.
NLM’s Global Health Events collection resources on Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak are available at:
https://archive-it.org/collections/4887?fc=websiteGroup%3ACoronavirus+disease+%28COVID-19%29+outbreak

In addition to NLM’s Global Health Events collecting, NLM is also collaborating in an ongoing broader international effort led by the International Internet Preservation Consortium’s (IIPC) Content Development Group to recommend content for a Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) web archive collection.   A full description of this effort and an invitation for individual contributions to this collection is available on their blog.

An informal portrait of Christie Moffatt.Christie Moffatt is Manager of the Digital Manuscripts Program in the History of Medicine Division at the National Library of Medicine and Chair of NLM’s Web Collecting and Archiving Working Group.

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