UCSF Archives to House The COVID Tracking Project, a National Database Donated by The Atlantic

The COVID Tracking Project, a crowdsourced digital archive documenting the face of the pandemic in the United States, will become part of the permanent collection in the UCSF Archives & Special Collections and will be accessible to researchers and the public.

The project was launched by The Atlantic (https://covidtracking.com/) to address the lack of reliable information about the pandemic, was volunteer-driven (https://covidtracking.com/thank-you) and published data on COVID-19 testing, cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in the U.S. The information gathered was cited by major journals and many news stories and used by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the federal Food and Drug Administration.

This collaborative project brings together teams from The COVID Tracking Project team, the California Digital Library, and UCSF Archives & Special Collections. It will provide impetus for developing tools and new approaches for archiving collections, comprising diverse formats from instant messages to source code to emails as well as data sets. The COVID Tracking Project has already published its primary dataset in the Dryad data repository (https://blog.datadryad.org/2021/08/04/covid-tracking-project-data-now-available-in-dryad/) and the team anticipate that within a year this remarkable born-digital collection will be preserved and made accessible online.

This archive joins other publicly-accessible UCSF archives on the community HIV/AIDS epidemic response, tobacco industry, the opioid industry, and the food industry.


For more, see:
• UCSF to House COVID Tracking Project, a National Database Donated by The Atlantic (https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2021/07/421151/ucsf-house-covid-tracking-project-national-database-donated-atlantic)
• Archives of the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic Donated to UCSF, in Partnership With the California Digital Library (https://www.theatlantic.com/press-releases/archive/2021/07/archives-covid-tracking-project-donated-ucsf/619605/)

Pandemic, Creating a Usable Past: Epidemic History, COVID-19, and the Future of Health

Pandemic, Creating a Usable Past: Epidemic History, COVID-19, and the Future of Health

See the full program description here

Further reading and resources

In the face of COVID-19, historians of public health, nursing, and medicine come together to reflect on past epidemics and their implications for how we confront today’s unfolding crisis.

Those who study epidemics and pandemics in the past see powerful echoes in the present crisis. In the past as today, families and societies grappled with the sudden tragic loss of life. They debated the social and economic fallout from the epidemic. They struggled with tensions over the halting of commerce, the imposition of quarantines, and social distancing measures. They fought over the impact of public health measures on personal freedom and civil liberties. They tried to make sense of the different impact of disease across regions and populations, well-off and poor. They sought cures and prevention measures, even as dubious theories and fraudulent practices sprung up.  They argued over what forms of knowledge or faith would guide them through the calamity. They called for reinventing public health during the crisis, and for rethinking social priorities once the epidemic subsided. And, even as the toll of death widened, they planned for the uncertain future.

With history as our guide, this forum of epidemic experts explores how people and societies in former eras responded to pandemic challenges. What perspective does their experience offer for the present? What guidance does the past provide for the future of public health, health care, and public policy?

Sponsored by the American Association for the History of Medicine with support from Princeton University, Department of History

Call for Book Chapters: “Modern Theory and Metatheory of Defense Technology and Science”

Basil Evangelidis
Vernon Press

Vernon Press invites book chapter proposals on the thematic of Modern European and Atlantic Theory and Metatheory of Defense Technology and Science. The Pursuit of Power as an interaction between society, technology and armed forces, as the historian McNeill defined it, is the starting point of this problematic. This edited book, however, should try to supervene and unify the dispersed historical perspectives, by questioning its background methodological presuppositions and discussing the following theoretical directions: International and Strategic Studies, Modern Weapons Technology, Psychological Operations and Crisis Management, Mass Communication and Propaganda, Policy and Law Enforcement, Fortifications and Automation Technology, Air Force and UAV, Situational Awareness, Radar and Lidar, Innovation, Invention and Discovery, Centers, Peripheries and Technical Progress, Space Science, Technical Expertise and Training, Nutrition, Medicine, Transports and Engineering.

Relevant to the above mentioned theoretical research interests are also the metatheoretical topics of Innovation Projects in Scientific Reasoning, ranging from Quantum Logic to Space Exploration. A philosopher of modern science investigates many different types and modules of Innovative Reasoning, which has proved to be essential for planning Defense Technology Projects: Theory of Truth and Evidence, Logic of Relations and Semiotics, Modal Realism and Mathematical Philosophy, Ethics and Decision Making, Criteriology, Quantitative and Qualitative Methods of Research, Quantum Logic, Grades of Equations, Computational Networks, Non-Commutative Mathematics, Topology, Artificial Intelligence, Cognitive Science, Neurobiology, Astrophysics and Cosmology. Such metatheoretical research hallmarks are indispensable for philosophical research on Defense Problems in present times and for the future scientific community.

The time scope of the chapters of the proposed edited book should focus on historical evidence from American Independence until the present, such as the bureaucratization of violence, the frontier expansion, the military impact of the industrial revolution, the industrialization of war, the emergence of the Military-Industrial Complex in Great Britain, the World Wars, the balance of power, the arms race etc. The aforementioned points of interest need deeper investigation, because they play a significant role in contemporary defense science, in the quest for realistic, anthropological, structural or many worlds interpretations of technological innovation, furthermore, in inductive and deductive logic, theory and metatheory of policy making in international levels. The dynamic linkages and the interdependency between induction and deduction, theory and metatheory is one of the most important research problems for the Philosophy of Physical and Human Sciences of Defense.

Please email proposals for chapters to Dr. Basil Evangelidis, by August 1, 2020.

Donald Forsdyke on Theories of Aging, Informational Aspects of DNA, and England’s Pasteur

When messengers are not authors of messages they bear, they should not be praised for the novelty of ideas in the messages. Donald Forsdyke (Queen’s University, Canada) has made a case that certain accolades bestowed upon Peter Medawar and Erwin Schrödinger for their respective contributions to theories of aging and of informational aspects of DNA, should rightly be assigned to the Victorian polymath, Samuel Butler (see Biological Theory 15, 50-55). Forsdyke has extensive webpages on Samuel Butler, George Romanes, William Bateson and – of particular significance in light of COVID-19 – Romanes’ mentor, John Burdon Sanderson (1828-1905). The account in the 1860s of the rapidly spreading cattle plague (rinderpest) by “England’s Pasteur” was scrutinized by the politicians no less intently than they today scrutinize accounts of the rapidly spreading coronavirus. Visit the website.

Call for volunteers: Critical hospital equipment service manuals

Heroic medical teams around the world are either dealing directly with or preparing for an onslaught. Biomedical technicians (biomeds for short) are the repair experts at hospitals, and in many regions they are stretched thin. There are a wide variety of machines made by a number of different manufacturers at hospitals around the world, and there is no single resource for how to repair all of them.

Some manufacturers heroically host service manuals for their equipment on their website, and some make them more challenging to locate. There is no single source of information for biomeds to access. Biomed forums are frequently populated with requests for specific PDF service manuals. The closest thing to a central resource is Frank’s Hospital Workshop, a fantastic website run out of Tanzania with hundreds of manuals and very helpful how-to resources for maintaining medical equipment. But Frank’s site is a one-person operation, and a single point of failure, should overwhelming traffic come calling.

We put out a call for manuals, and the medical community responded.

We have been donated a trove of tens of thousands of medical equipment service manuals. We’ve already uploaded the high-priority ventilators to iFixit, and now we’re working on getting the rest online.

iFixit’s team of about ten technical writers has been working to organize these files for the last two weeks, and we’re just overwhelmed. We can’t do it on our own.

We estimate that we have about 2,000 hours of file curation and organization to build this library. I am looking for people willing to donate at least 20 hours of time. The work is straightforward but requires attention to detail—mostly file organization and renaming. It’s a chance to learn a lot about the medical device maintenance world in a short amount of time! Did you know that hospitals have machines for calibrating their endoscopy machines? Well, you do now!

Can you help? Do you know someone that can? We need librarians, academics, and anyone else with a love for organization and a little extra time right now. No specific repair or medical knowledge is required.

We are going to host a training for new volunteers on Monday at 5:00 PM Pacific on Zoom. Please share this with anyone who could help. (We can set up another training for volunteers in different time zones if we have enough volunteers.)

Reach out to techwriting@ifixit.com if you can help!

Kyle Wiens

Digital Publication – Making and Knowing Project’s Secrets of Craft and Nature

The Making and Knowing Project celebrates the publication of Secrets of Craft and Nature in Renaissance France. A Digital Critical Edition and English Translation of BnF Ms. Fr. 640, a remarkable sixteenth-century manuscript held by the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The manuscript contains over 900 recipes for making art objects, medical remedies, and materials for the household and workshop. Its observations on craft workshop practices record extensive first-hand experimentation with natural materials, and provide unique insights into the material, technical, and intellectual world of the late sixteenth century. It sheds light on how and why nature was investigated, collected, and used in art in early modern Europe, and on the origins of the natural sciences in the creative labors of Renaissance artists and artisans’ workshops. The digital critical edition is openly accessible.

Secrets of Craft and Nature in Renaissance France presents the text of the manuscript in French transcription and English translation for the first time. Over 100 essays written by students and scholars explore the manuscript’s material and historical context and discuss the hands-on reconstruction of its processes in the Making and Knowing Laboratory.

Making and Knowing Project, Pamela H. Smith, Naomi Rosenkranz, Tianna Helena Uchacz, Tillmann Taape, Clément Godbarge, Sophie Pitman, Jenny Boulboullé, Joel Klein, Donna Bilak, Marc Smith, and Terry Catapano, eds., Secrets of Craft and Nature in Renaissance France. A Digital Critical Edition and English Translation of BnF Ms. Fr. 640 (New York: Making and Knowing Project, 2020), http://edition640.makingandknowing.org.

Announcing the Newly Digitized Dr. Robert Matz Hospital Postcard Collection

The New York Academy of Medicine Library is very pleased to announce the launch of the Dr. Robert Matz Hospital Postcard Collection, a pilot digitization project that provides access to 118 hospital postcards from the five boroughs of New York City. Spearheaded by Dr. Robin Naughton, Senior Digital Program Manager, the collection offers a window into the history of hospitals in the New York area as well as some of the visitors to those hospitals. Many of the postcards have messages and postmarks, allowing the viewer to ascertain the time period when the cards were created. The Matz Collection can be viewed here.