A Message Concerning Our Services During the COVID-19 Outbreak

COVID-19 Courtesy of newscientist.com

To our staff, student community and global researchers and patrons.

In line with our University of Newcastle’s COVID019 safety advice as of Monday 23rd March 2020 we are placing the following measures in place with our service delivery:

  • Our staff who wish to do so for either personal health reasons or as a safety precaution for their families will be working from home.
  • All volunteers will be sent home until further notice.
  • There will be a skeleton staff in Cultural Collections and GLAMx Lab to deal with work integrated learning student placements and in generating fresh digital content from our physical archival and rare book collections where feasible.
  • We have access to Aarnet’s Cloudstor services and so can deliver digital content in any size should it be required.
  • Where the level of physical content not feasible to digitise, physical access can be provided by appointment only by emailing archives@newcastle.edu.au

To search our digital and online listings of content:

For physical researchers:

  • Books and cultural material are inanimate surfaces. With regards to inanimate surfaces an opinion piece published by The New England Journal of Medicine  suggests that the corona-virus lives on copper for 4 hours, on cardboard for 1 day, and on plastic for 3 days.
  • Most importantly, a more detailed study has suggested that the human pathogens can persist on surfaces and remain infectious at room temperature for up to nine days. It means that corona family viruses can survive between four and five days on cultural material made of wood, paper, plastic and glass.
  • Of our particular concern the study shows that at the room temperature, the virus can last up to five days on paper and glass surfaces (Duan, et al. 2003).
  • High air humidity and low temperature will increase the virus’s lifespan. A temperature of 30 degrees celcius or more and the relative humidity lower than 50% might help reducing the virus’s duration of persistence in comparison with lower temperature and higher humidity (Kampf, et al. 2020) for disinfection purposes.
  • Accordingly, and in the absence of possibility of constant disinfection of all books and cultural material, we suggest the following:
    • All persons handling cultural materials should wear gloves for all the duration that they work with items including the collection staff as well as clients.
    • All persons adopt social distancing recommendations
    • All people who have been in contact with anyone traveling from overseas, or showing flu like symptoms of the virus, should refrain from coming in.
    • All users to wear masks to avoid transmission of droplets to the paper or glass material. If you possess a face mask, to please wear it (as we have been unable to source supplies to date)
    • A register of the people who have accessed the Cultural Collections and items consulted during the Covid-19 outbreak will be kept, in case we need to disinfect any items in future.
    • Observing precautions in place, all use of Cultural Collections should be arranged by appointment only.
    • All the shared appliances such as keyboards, door handles, copy machine, fridge and kettle handles need to be cleaned on regular basis.

For digital researchers:

  • We have a great content in high resolution across a number of digital and social media platforms. See above.
  • We hold thousands of rare books dating from 1544, mostly donated through a variety of individuals, organisations, private collections, as well as academics associated with the University of Newcastle and Hunter Region. There are also extensive and unique holdings of primary source regional archives relating to European people who made Australia their home dating from 1826 and of enormous importance to understanding the growth and evolution of the Hunter Region, as well as Aboriginal artefacts dating back at least 7,000 years and research material relating to the study of Australian Aboriginal language and culture.
  • To locate individual rare books within the collections, as well as some archival collections, search our NEWCAT database here, and limit the search to “Cultural Collections”: https://library.newcastle.edu.au/
  • To search across our holdings, including online digital items: http://libguides.newcastle.edu.au/ccsearch
  • To browse our archival finding aids, rare book collection descriptions, and background, please consult our official UON Website here:


For Work Integrated Learning Students (GLAMx) and their Lecturers & Co-ordinators:

  • CMNS3333 Multi-platform Journalism (2020)
    Our Region 50 Years Ago. Students reconstructing NBN TV News stories that went to air in 1970.
    Status: 19 have completed task, 17 remaining (max. 2 students at Lab at any one time). Students need to book with minimal F2F contact with GLAMx Lab Co-ordinator.
    Contingency: Digital media files will be sent electronically to students via Cloudstor. This has been communicated to Course Co-ordinator Mr Ed Reddin.


  • ABOR3080 Indigenous Research
    Lab visit/Deep Time Project seminar planned for to ABOR3080 (10 students) day/time to be determined. Co-ordinator Dr Debbie Long, Wollotuka Institute.
    Contingency: Contact co-ordinator to inform that only online video or Zoom seminar will be available.


  • CIND3002 – Major Project A
    Ongoing support during 2020 to 3 CIND3002 GLAM studies students (Major creative industries project) Co-ordinators Dr Una Rey and Dr Helena Bezzina.
    Contingency: Contact co-ordinator/students to inform that only online video or Zoom seminars will be available, as well as email/phone communication.


  • AART3130: Gallery Library Archive Museum Studies
    On 7 April AART3130 GLAM students (approx. 15.) are planning to visit GLAMx Lab for a presentation about GLAM Sector. Co-ordinators Dr Una Rey and Dr Helena Bezzina.
    Contingency: Contact co-ordinator/students to inform that only online video or Zoom seminars will be available, as well as email/phone communication.


Hunter Living Histories Meetings

  • Will be be Zoom only for participants who can access the technology.


We wish you and your families all the best at this difficult time, and we are committed to provide you as best digital access to crucial historical content related to the Hunter and Central Coast Regions as best we can.

Yours sincerely,

The University of Newcastle Library’s Cultural Collections/GLAMx/Hunter Living Histories Team




Duan, Shu-Ming, XS Zhao, RF Wen, JJ Huang, GH Pi, SX Zhang, J Han, SL Bi, L Ruan, and Dong XP. 2003. “Stability of SARS Coronavirus in Human Specimens and Environment and Its Sensitivity to Heating and UV Irradiation.” Biomedical and Environmental Sciences 16 (3): 246-255 .

Editor. 2020. “Aerosol and Surface Stability of SARS-CoV-2 as Compared with SARS-CoV-1.” The new England Journal of Medicine 1-3.

Kampf, Günter, Daniel Todt, Stephanie Pfaender, and Eike Steinmann. 2020. “Persistence of coronaviruses on inanimate surfaces and its inactivation with biocidal agents.” Journal of Hospital Infection 104: 246-251.

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