Curious Harvard students, fear no more. Gone are the discomforting days of getting caught perusing the erotica pages of “The Unofficial Guide.” Inquiring minds can now find the anonymity they so sorely need in the brand-spanking new electronic version of the sacred text, found at www.unofficialharvard.com.
This past summer, Brian Clay ’02, vice-president of HSA, Inc., and Brad Olson ’03, Manager of “The Unofficial Guide” Book Team, oversaw the project to bridge the digital divide. “We figured our readers go online for everything else, so why not for ‘The Unofficial Guide’?” Olson explains.
The website allows anyone to search restaurants, nightlife hotspots, and shops and services in the greater Boston area. The write-ups are familiar and endearing, but not all of the entries in the printed version can be found in the guide’s cyberspace sister. “We want them to go hand in hand,” says Clay.
But the alluring “advance search” option found on the site should attract any overly skeptical bibliophiles. “If you are looking for a specific type of cuisine, location or restaurant, then the online guide is definitely the way to go,” preaches Sanjay Mavinkurve ’03, one-third of the tech-savvy triumvirate—along with Eddie Huang ’03 and Alex Mittendorf ’03—who programmed the site. “The advanced search is really powerful, allowing you to search based on cost, dress code, T stop, and the best picks of ‘The Unofficial Guide.’ Studs of the next generation will use its powerful search capabilities to scope out the perfect date location,” Mavinkurve continues.
Unfortunately this new development in the HSA’s mission to “provide goods and services to the Harvard community at large,” according to Clay, does not mean that each dorm room will receive a laptop to complement the printed version of “The Unofficial Guide.” “It’s tough economic times,” Clay laughs. And an intense project such as this is sure to encounter other obstacles. A recent snafu classifying erotica shops in the same category as eye doctors and eyewear has been resolved, much to the relief of conservative optometrists around Cambridge.
The unofficial team hopes their site will prove an invaluable resource for the Harvard community. Olson cites the convenience of the site as its major draw. “I mean, who can remember the hours for all of the erotica stores—and bakeries—in Boston?”