Indiana State University Newsroom

Digital memory project marks 10 years

June 11, 2014

The gaming system Nintendo warned users, "Everything not saved will be lost."

The prophetic message drew chuckles -- and knowing nods -- from guests attending the Wabash Valley Visions and Voices 10th Anniversary dinner.

The 50 honorees recognized during the Monday night event at Indiana State's Cunningham Memorial Library are part of a collaborative effort spanning six counties. WV3, as it is known, includes West Central Indiana's libraries, museums, cultural organizations and community groups that work to preserve the region's history in print, image and sound.

"We offer you thanks for hitting the save button," said Gregory Youngen, interim library dean. Youngen's thank you was among the evening's numerous appreciative words.

In 10 years, WV3 accomplished more than they ever thought was possible, amassing more than 160,000 items from 21 partners and 44 collections, said Cinda May, special collections chair at the library and project director of WV3.

She offered a champagne toast to the "folks who made it all possible -- past, present and future." The group also welcomed its "first partner of the second decade," the Merom Conference Center, which dates back to 1865, when it was the Union Christian College.

In 2004, the technology landscape was much different than it is now -- Bluetooth capability was new, the now obsolete TiVo was all the rage and iPhones had not yet been invented. So, creating the state's oldest ongoing collaborative digitization project took nearly a planetary alignment, May said.

Myrna McCallister, who was dean of the library in 2004, developed the idea of a collaborative project, and May created the concept of a digital memory project focused on local history and culture. WV3 has always been based at Indiana State, which provides server capacity, resources and staff.

After a decade, the university remains just as committed to WV3, because of the experiential learning and community engagement it provides.

"We want everyone to have professional experience," said Dan Bradley, president of Indiana State. "Whether you're a nurse or a teacher, an art major or a historian, you need to understand and, hopefully have some experience, related to that degree before you leave. Working on real-world projects, both inside and outside the university, is part of that effort, and Wabash Valley Visions and Voices definitely fits that category."

Good citizenship is an expectation in a democracy, Bradley said, and the university strives to lead by example with its community engagement activities.

"ISU is engaged with our community, because we want to be part of the Wabash Valley, not just located in the Wabash Valley," Bradley said.

The evening's speaker, David Nichols, who is a professor of history at Indiana State, provided an entertaining account of Terre Haute's colorful past and explained why the city was known as "Indiana's Delinquent City."

At the start of the function, the partners posed for a group photo, which will fittingly be digitized for posterity: city of Terre Haute, Clinton Public Library, Coal Town and Railroad Museum, Educational Heritage Association, Eugene V. Debs Museum, Indiana State University, Knox County Public Library, Little Italy Festival Town Inc., Lost Creek Grove Preservation and Restoration Foundation Inc., Native American Museum, Princeton Public Library, Rockville Public Library, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology Logan Library, Rural Community Academy, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, Sisters of Providence of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Sullivan County Historical Society, Sullivan County Public Library, town of Seelyville, Vigo County Historical Society, Vigo County Public Library and Wabash Valley Genealogy Society.

To access the free digital collection of artifacts, administrative and personal papers, manuscripts, photographs, texts, yearbooks, maps, oral histories and other audio/video files, go to


Photos: - Partners of the Wabash Valley Visions and Voices pose for a photograph at the 10th Anniversary dinner at Indiana State's Cunningham Memorial Library Monday night. -- Cinda May, special collections chair at Indiana State's Cunningham Memorial Library and project director of Wabash Valley Visions and Voices, greets a guest. - Guests raise their glasses in a toast to the accomplishments of Wabash Valley Visions and Voices Digital Memory Project.

Contact: Cinda May, special collections chair at Indiana State University's Cunningham Memorial Library and project director of Wabash Valley Visions and Voices, 812-237-2534 or

Writer: Libby Roerig, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or