Davis Wiki declared “world’s best local wiki”

Though a small city of 65,000, Davis knows just the way to keep its community members up-to-date on local happenings.

A writer for Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab, Michaela Anderson, announced on Nov. 6 that Davis Wiki is the “world’s best local wiki.”

What drew Anderson’s attention was that over 10,000 individuals visit the community site each day. Both UC Davis students and citizens utilize Davis Wiki to search the town’s culture, hotspots and everyday activities.

Over 14,000 Davis wiki pages were edited 13,000 times by over 3,300 users in the past month.

“It’s basically a one-stop resource where, if you want to know things about Davis, it’s the first place to go,” said Mike Ivanov, one of the original authors of Davis Wiki. “I think it really has brought the online community together. People aren’t just on Facebook or random websites, and here they can hang out and share information. It has created a greater sense of community and helped students connect more. “

Davis Wiki provides information regarding city events, restaurant reviews, businesses and information about UC Davis.

“I know that during my freshman year, when I was still getting my bearings on the city, I used Davis Wiki a lot,” said sophomore biology major Cara Miroglio. “Personally, I use Davis Wiki all the time to read reviews on restaurants that my friends and I want to try, to learn about upcoming events, and to get directions. It’s the first resource that I go to, and it hasn’t failed me yet.”

Davis resident Jason Aller first got involved with the site in December of 2004 after volunteering with the Davis Community Network. Seeing the positive things local communities can do with the Internet, Aller has made over 23,960 edits on 270 wikis.

“Davis Wiki can be a resource for people even before they move here to learn more about the town and the many options that it affords,” said Aller, Web Application Developer for UC Davis School of Law. “Once here they can continue to use it to keep abreast of recent developments and also to learn about the people and the history of the town.”

Mike Ivanov and Philip Neustrom founded Davis Wiki on Oct. 27, 2004. Both site creators believed before they started Davis Wiki, the community was losing the information that came from personal conversations.

“At the time there wasn’t a really good resource to find things out in Davis,” Ivanov said. “We wanted to create a resource that anyone could contribute to, and it has created a lot of knowledge among the students especially, from year to year.”

Since the success of the local wiki, Ivanov and Neustrom have both hoped that other towns throughout the United States will be motivated to create such a website. Neustrom designed Wiki Spot, where communities in Rochester, New York, Santa Cruz, Calif. and Pittsburgh, Pa. have successfully created their own wikis.

“Collaborative editing is a valuable life skill, and this is definitely an excellent place to practice it,” Aller said.

SAMANTHA BOSIO can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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