With articles ranging from the history of Storke Tower to the specifics of the ubiquitous file-sharing program DC++, a new UCSB encyclopedia might have students spending more time online than Facebook.com could have thought possible.
Carl Jantzen, a first-year computer science major, recently finished making UCSBwiki.com – a website modeled after Wikipedia.org using the free code found on the Internet. Like on Wikipedia.org, anyone can edit articles about UCSB and surrounding communities by adding or subtracting facts to the topic on UCSBWiki.
Jantzen said the site currently boasts 80 articles and 30 people have signed up for the site, while many more casual browsers search through its pages.
As might be expected, Jantzen said, UCSBWiki is more specific than Wikipedia’s listings for UCSB and I.V.
“In essence, Wikipedia can offer a brief overview of our school and our community, whereas UCSBWiki can be very in depth and contain any amount of detail,” Jantzen said.
UCSBWiki can be useful to incoming freshmen and prospective students who want to learn more about the UCSB community and help ease their transition into college life, he said.
“My expectation for the site is to make it the number one resource for people who want to know about UCSB and Isla Vista,” Jantzen said.
Jantzen said he has been the main contributor to the site since he began working on it last fall.
“I started it in November 2005 and did not really tell anyone until January,” Jantzen said. “The site, right now, is being spread by word of mouth and has an ad on Facebook.”
Jantzen said UCSBwiki is not the first of its kind.
“UC Davis has a student-run Wiki at DavisWiki.org,” Jantzen said. “DavisWiki is actually a much more mature project than UCSBWiki, and in some ways is sort of a goal for UCSBWiki.”
According to DavisWiki.org’s statistics, 2,502 users are registered and the site has 7,031 pages covering topics such as the on-campus bathrooms and vegan eating options near the university.
Miguel Fregoso, a first-year undeclared freshman, said he happened upon UCSBWiki recently.
“I missed the space between ‘UCSB’ and ‘Wiki’ when I googled to find what Wikipedia had on UCSB, and I found the link to UCSBWiki.com and decided to check it out,” he said.
Fregoso said the site does not have much information at this point, but he likes the concept.
“I like the potential of it, but it’s not cool yet,” Fregoso said. “It’s too small.”
Maya Dehner, a graduate in environmental science management, said she does not know of the site but will consider looking at it.
“Usually professors discourage us from using Wikipedia.org for research since it is difficult to prove the authenticity of the website’s contents,” Dehner said.
Meanwhile, Meta Clow, UCSB Campus Policies and Records Management coordinator, said she is reviewing the site to see if it follows campus policy.
“According to campus policies, sites not run by the University of California [that] are for commercial purposes cannot have the letters UCSB in its website name,” Clow said.
UCSBWiki currently has two small ads on the lower left of the page, Jantzen said. He said he is trying to recuperate some of the money he spends hosting the site. However, he said he does not foresee any problems with the university concerning the use of the name.