For immediate release JY&A
Jack Yan, Publisher (Wellington)
T 64 4 387-3213, F 64 4 387-3213
Ann Fryer, Associate Publisher (New York)
T 1 203 979-6166
Monica Waldron, London correspondent
A JY&A Consulting
T 64 3 366-3690, cellphone 64 21 328-869
Autocade car database site takes Twitter’s “good enough”
New Zealand- and British-developed site focuses
on providing 80-word summaries of car models made after 1970
Wellington, December 21 (JY&A
Media) In an era when the Flip’s camera quality is sufficient
for most people, and when Tumblr and Tweeter serve as channels of
communication, sometimes “good enough” is all that people need.
Autocade, a new online car database at autocade.net,
follows the same philosophy.
Instead of long-winded pieces that one might find on
Wikipedia or websites devoted to certain models, Autocade
has one-paragraph summaries, along with basic technical information.
The website, editable by the public, boasted its 1,000th
model entry today. It is the brainchild of Jack Yan, who has had
a track history of being a pioneer.
Mr Yan was the first digital typeface designer in New
Zealand, one of the country’s first web publishers, and the founder
of Lucire, a fashion magazine
which began online but has since spawned international print editions.
The Media department of his company, Jack
Yan & Associates, is behind Autocade.
He says that he was tired of seeing the errors in Wikipedia,
where contributors often failed to double-check their sources, and
aimed to build something better.
However, he believes that many users want quick information
and do not have time to sift through long articles.
‘I haven’t seen a site like this yet, despite the web
having been with us for 20 years,’ he says. ‘You either see really
long articles, or very technical pages that only experts would get
any value from. Others are market-specific and tied to automotive
retail. I wanted a quick, accurate, international resource.’
Each entry has an average length of 800 bytes, or around
He takes one lead from Wikipedia by making the
database editable by the public, specifically registered users.
The site is driven by MediaWiki, the same software behind Wikipedia.
‘Let’s make it open to edits, but let’s also monitor
those changes so that Autocade remains accurate and true
to its original spirit,’ says Mr Yan.
He says every entry on Autocade has been meticulously
checked against published sources. He wants to see this continue,
by allowing only registered users who are serious about maintaining
the website’s global, accurate point of view.
Mr Yan claims Autocade is truly international,
in the spirit of the original web.
‘If you visit the English Wikipedia, there is
a natural bias toward English-speaking territories. It’s understandable:
it has more contributions from natural English speakers. However,
when it comes to dealing with cars sold outside the United States,
in particular, it falls short in many cases,’ he says.
His aim with Autocade was to have a website
that would not have the same biases, by giving the same emphasis
to models regardless of their country of origin. He admits that
there will naturally be some bias, but it is not as strongly felt.
He says the site’s focus has been on automobiles made
in his lifetime (from the 1970s on), since he had more readily available
published resources. But Autocade welcomes any models, provided
the information is accurate.
The photographs have to be either publicity shots where
copyright has been waived, or original work by the contributor.
While it has some popular models such as the original
Volkswagen Golf and the entire lineage of Toyota Corollas, Mr Yan
has seen fit to add obscure cars such as the Luxgen M7 of Taiwan,
the Kish Khodro Veek of Iran, the Pakistani Adam Revo, and the Korean,
‘In some of these cases, Autocade is the first
site to get this information online. In other cases, we’re the first
to publish the information online in English,’ he claims.
He says his inspiration was the work of the late Michael
Sedgwick, who authored a series of guides in the early 1980s for
Haymarket’s Classic and Sportscar. The format was later followed
in Classic and Sportscar’s sister magazine, Your Classic,
in some of its guides.
The one-photo, one-paragraph format adopted by Mr Sedgwick
gave a useful overview of production years, body styles, engine
choices and a brief impression of the model.
Mr Yan used that as his inspiration, but has been careful
to not duplicate the format exactly. In addition, he has appended
production locations and links to the models’ predecessors and successors,
something that could not have been done practically in print.
‘Haymarket’s position with Autocade was that
they were fine with the site as long as the content was original,’
he says. ‘That was perfect as far as we were concerned, since we
have published magazines for two decades and unoriginal content
would have been out of the question.’
JY&A Media, part of Jack Yan & Associates,
did Autocade’s overall design (based on a template by Paul
Gu, www.paulgu.com) and hosting.
Peter Jobes (www.peter-j.co.uk),
a British web designer and developer, customized MediaWiki for the
site’s needs. Mr Jobes is currently working on Yappey (www.yappey.com),
a UK social networking site.
Autocade entered its alpha and beta testing
phases in March 2008. Mr Yan had gone on record to say that once
the site had reached 1,000 models, the beta tag would be removed.
The 1,000th model, the Turkish Tofaş Doĝan, went online
on December 20, 2009.
Images for this release may be downloaded at <http://jya.net/091221pr0.htm>.
About JY&A Media
JY&A Media, part of Jack Yan & Associates, publishes and
licenses magazines, in print and on the web, and produces interactive
television programming. Best known among its titles is Lucire,
the fashion magazine which launched online in 1997 and spawned international
print editions in 2004. An internet pioneer, it has been publishing
and creating online titles since the early 1990s. More on the company
can be found at <http://jyanet.com/media>.
Notes to editors
Lucire is a registered trade mark of Jack Yan & Associates
and subject to protection in certain jurisdictions. All other trade
marks are the properties of their respective owners and are only
used in a descriptive fashion without any intention to infringe.