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LivingDetroit, Wayne State\'s new wiki-style Web site, gives Detroiters a voice for chronicling and illuminating the city\'s history in their own words

January 11, 2010

(Detroit) - LivingDetroit, the first virtual museum to chronicle Detroit's history through a Wikipedia-style repository of audio diaries, photographs and interactive maps, will officially launch on January 14, 2010 at 5 p.m. A reception featuring former Detroit Free Press columnist Bill McGraw will be held from 5 - 7 p.m. at the Walter P. Reuther Library at 5401 Cass Ave. in Detroit.

Developed and maintained by students at Wayne State University's Irvin D. Reid Honors College, the collaborative Web site features the personal experiences, knowledge, perspectives and reflections of several generations of Detroiters. Incorporating "then and now" mapping components, the site will enable browsers to hear vivid first-hand accounts by Detroiters who actually experienced such milestone events as the 1967 riots or the city's exuberant street celebrations after a Joe Louis boxing victory.

"The LivingDetroit project aims to enlist our community in a dynamic and ongoing storytelling initiative, " said Jerry Herron, dean of the Irvin D. Reid Honors College. "We want to bring our past to life by collecting memories, images, music, maps and artifacts of every kind. LivingDetroit will be an online, interactive encyclopedia representing the people, places and things that make this city what it is-the most indispensably American city."

Established in 2007, the Irvin D. Reid Honors College embodies Wayne State's community engagement mission by providing service learning opportunities for its students. The LivingDetroit Web project emerged out of a 2008 Honors College program in which Detroit senior citizens were invited to recount and record their recollections of historic events.

According to Herron, LivingDetroit was developed to enable current and future generations to better understand the people, places and events that have shaped the communities in which they live. He hopes the site will emerge as a platform for discussion about the issues and opportunities involved in Detroit's renewal.

Partners in the LivingDetroit project include: WDET 101.9 FM; Luella Hannan Memorial Foundation; Wayne State University Press; the Wayne State University Irvin D. Reid Honors College; Wayne State University's Detroit Orientation Institute; and the Wayne State University Library System.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution of higher education offering more than 350 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.