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News Feature: Coping with Covid



During the last several years the pandemic has disrupted our research and teaching schedules. Atusyki Morishima at University of Tsukuba has led an effort to create a resource that documents how the various iSchools coped. This project uses crowd-sourcing to gather links to institutional pages about various responses to the Covid crisis. Many of the “pages are often provided in local languages only” and perhaps for that reason “it is not easy to find them by Web search engines.”¹ In order to insure long-term availability, the project will cooperate with the Internet Archive. Users can search by region to find schools that may interest them.


Automatic translation is never entirely reliable, but in this case it is relatively easy to find policy information by using Apple or Google or other translation services. Participation has been unexpectedly high. Terms of statistics: 32 of the Asia-Pacific schools have participated, 40 from the European and African region, and 53 schools from the Americas (north and south).² Anyone may use the database for any purpose, including doing research, developing other databases, and discovering how academic institutions internationally have coped with the crisis.


In general the focus is on keeping students and staff safe, through measures such as monitoring, masks, training courses, and of course explicit guidelines. Some schools have set up FAQ sites, and some universities have established testing centres that are free for students and staff. Working from home is also an option at many of the schools. It is important to remember that even though the database is a snapshot in time, the links are live and are likely to change as local conditions change and as new regulations come into force.


This kind of project shows what we can accomplish when we collaborate internationally. In so far as international travel is becoming more possible, a database like this is especially important when visiting other universities as guest lecturers, or students.

 

Cover Image by: Martin Sanchez on Unsplash

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