Archival Research in a Time of Social Distancing

All over the world, archives and libraries are shutting their doors as covid-19 spreads. These closures mean that researchers can't use the not-yet-digitized collections that exist in those places. Or does it?

As we've been teaching people about Tropy, one thing we've learned is that researchers nearly always want to be generous with their photographs. We get asked all the time if researchers can share their photos back to the archives from whence they came. But what if, instead of sharing them back to the archive, you could provide research materials to another research whose research trip has been cancelled or postponed?

In the newest release of Tropy (1.7), we've made it possible to export items---photos, metadata, and all---in a zip archive, which can then be shared with anyone. We've set up a special category on the forums where you can post about documents you were hoping to get, or documents that you have that you think someone might need.

Using the archive plugin, users can then exchange documents. If the documents are small enough, you can exchange them right on the forums; otherwise, you might need to set up an exchange using a shared folder system (like Dropbox).

We would recommend that you don't just exchange photos, of course--give your fellow researchers the metadata they need to find things again or cite materials properly!

Please let us know how else we can help you with your research as you develop new workflows during social distancing.