Welcome to the Wausau East High School Library’s digital archives of the WAHISCAN, our high school yearbook. Throughout the years, alumni, teachers, and students have sought access to both the newest and oldest editions of our print yearbooks. Now, in 2018, I am excited to release the digital archives of our yearbooks from 1917-2014 for ease of access, anywhere, anytime! Digital yearbooks will be released approximately four years after print publication. My quest to digitize Wausau's yearbooks is not alone. A growing number of school libraries are digitizing their own yearbook collections; however, our digital collections stand out due to the ability to allow for Optical Character Recognition (OCR).
OCR is a technology that enables end users to search scanned paper documents, PDF files or images. In essence, the static pages become searchable data. This technology assists with locating names and groups of individuals within our older yearbooks that do not have an index or only a sparse one. I do caution you though; due to file size, be aware that a large amount of your personal data may be utilized to access and download these files. The 1925 yearbook PDF file, for example, is approximately 53 megabytes. Watch the "How to Search" tutorial located on the left side if you need additional information on how to do this.
Besides helping alumni and their families track down images from the past, the Wausau East Library is using both the print and digital files as a resource to instruct students about the history of their high school and give them a window into student life from the past. Every page is digitized, from the front cover to the back, and includes all advertisements.
At Wausau East, every yearbook has its own distinct flavor, be it the hand drawn covers of the 1950s or the elegantly simple ones dating back to the 1920s. High school yearbooks continue to offer a personal perspective into the past that isn't usually captured in other historic records and provide a really clear snapshot of a school and community in time. This website of yearbook archives protects our investment in WAHISCAN yearbooks so that future generations can access and enjoy.
For librarians like me, this transitional move to digital access makes perfect sense. In the age of Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram, high school yearbooks remain hugely popular. Our yearbooks are often requested by those diving into genealogical research or just looking to reminisce. But since Wausau East often only owns a single copy or two of each year, I worry about wear and tear as well as the threat of vandalism should a student or visitor decide to lift a favorite photo or page. Those concerns vanish with access to permanent digital yearbook archives.
Navigate to the year you want to view by using the pages located on the left of the website. Our first yearbook is 1917 when Wausau only had one high school: Wausau High. Currently, our last archived yearbook is 2014. As stated before, digital yearbooks will be released approximately four years after print publication. Adobe Reader is the software of choice to open and enable searching of the yearbook PDFs. It is available as a free download onto your computer.
So in conclusion, I invite you to take a trip down memory lane that only a yearbook can provide. I hope you enjoy perusing Wausau's strong and varied school past through these historical primary sources!