- Science & Technology
Founders hope to bring resource tool to other communities
Begun as a project by two UC Davis undergraduates in 2004, the DavisWiki is now a thriving, collaborative resource for the Davis community.
But if the founders Mike Ivanov and Philip Neustrom have their way, Davis will not be the only community with its own online resource.
The DavisWiki is a free community website where anyone can find and create information on everything from restaurants to local characters in the city of Davis.
“It’s a complete compendium of all knowledge … I use DavisWiki all the time,” said Steve Davison, one of the web site’s top contributors.
This year, the DavisWiki is taking the next step to replicate its own success in local communities around the country with the LocalWiki Project.
With a $350,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to continue developing the software, the project is now fundraising to create local resources for pilot communities.
Tom Garberson, a Davis resident and DavisWiki contributor, explained that these local resources would include workshops and hiring professional community organizers who would communicate the function and utility of a “localwiki.”
To fundraise, the LocalWiki, a non-profit organization, has set up a unique pledge system through the web site KickStarter. If the full amount of $25,000 is not pledged by Monday, September 13, no one pays anything.
As of publication date, $8,619 has been pledged to the project.
To further sweeten the deal, those who pledge to donate $10 or more will receive a number of incentive prizes. They range from stickers, CDs, T-shirts, and a chance to choose and adopt a pilot community.
Other fundraising events are in their planning stages, such as dance parties at various Davis locations and speaking engagements for local businesses, Garberson said.
Davison, who began contributing to the DavisWiki since its inception, said that what makes the web site work is not only the positive attitude and culture of Davis, but the sense of ownership that residents have for all things Davis, including the DavisWiki.
“DavisWiki is local, non-commercial – it’s our site, mine and yours,” he said.
Han Kim, a junior computer science and engineering major, said that not only does he like how he is able to find information about everything at anytime, he likes how it is built, too.
“It is socially built and equal for everybody,” Kim said.
To bring the LocalWiki Projects to other communities, Garberson said there are two things that people can do. “Contribute and get involved with the DavisWiki – the more people the better. And donate, too,” he said.
For more information about the LocalWiki Project, check out the DavisWiki table on Saturdays at the Davis Farmer’s Market or go to localwiki.org.
JESSY WEI can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.