PHOENIX – As the coronavirus became a national crisis and parts of Arizona began to close, the State Archives created the Archives Digital Emergency Preparedness Team to collect the State of Arizona’s reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal of the project is to capture websites of state agencies, counties, municipalities and tribes as they share information to the public about their operations, policies and reactions as the health crisis unfolds.
"This is an important time to not only capture Arizona's reaction to the pandemic, but also to ensure that future Arizonans can learn from the steps and even missteps taken throughout this crisis," said Carlos Lopez, lead archivist and ADEPT Member.
“Websites and social media are the main ways that public bodies communicate directly with the public, therefore they are a rich source for future historians and researchers to see how our state, county and local governments reacted to the pandemic,” said Lopez.
ADEPT began the project in mid-March using Archive-It, a division of the Internet Archive, to capture the websites. Archive-It can not only capture the text and pictures of the sites, but audiovisual files as well.
“People assume that ‘once something is on the internet, it’s there forever,’ but the opposite is true,” said Laura Keller, electronic records archivist and ADEPT Member. “Web content is meant to be relevant to the right now, therefore it changes rapidly to stay current. With COVID-19, that content is changing even faster, not just day-to-day, but hour-to-hour. If we don’t capture it now, it will be gone forever.”
They are preserved and available publicly to researchers here: https://archive-it.org/collections/13738
"The ADEPT Project provides multiple captures of dozens of Arizona Government websites and social media in response to the coronavirus. Using Archive-it, we are able to create an intricate view of how the pandemic is unfolding in Arizona," said Jane Cadwalader, reference technician and ADEPT Member.
Archive-It is a web archiving program the State Archives has used since 2012 to archive the State of Arizona’s presence on the web, including official sites and social media. Their collection scope includes all state agencies, counties, municipalities and state and federal elected officials. Other historical website collections include Arizona and the 2016 Presidential Election and the Arizona Centennial. These and all other website collections are available at https://archive-it.org/home/ASLAPR.