Saturday, July 20, 2024

Cambridge Day has added a feature that we hope will be useful to residents and visitors – a Community Guide to local businesses and organizations.

The guide can be found in the “About Cambridge” section of the menu, and if readers search for business names or certain related terms, results from the Community Guide should jump to the top of results. The full guide can be reached through each listing found through search.

The guide covers arts and culture venues, from bookstores and comic book shops to nightclubs and theaters; restaurants, bakeries and breweries; advocacy organizations and nonprofits; general businesses such as banks; services from gas stations to laundromats; and places to shop, whether for clothing, stereo equipment or hardware.

The listings can be filtered and scrolled. There are links on each to website and social media. Click the address to go to a map and get directions. Click the phone number on your phone to call a business directly, or on a desktop to be taken to Skype or another default dialer. Click “email” on a listing for another way to communicate.

But this is just a start; even as we pushed the button to make the guide go live after many months of halting work, we knew there were entire subcategories of businesses missing; huge inconsistencies; an overwhelming oversight of great and beloved Somerville businesses; failure to keep up with a changing landscape of what is opening and closing; and certainly errors throughout that will need to be corrected.

You can help. Anytime the guide is used and a flaw or weakness is found, you can use the email links – at the top of the page on a laptop, tablet or desktop computer, or at the left of a phone screen – to suggest a correction or improvement. (The user experience is, unfortunately, better on desktop, where each listing is represented with a photo or logo. But we want to hear about weaknesses on any platform on which you use the Community Guide, and your ideas for making it better. Email us at [email protected]. Residents who want to get hands-on with adding and correcting entries should get in touch too.)

Over time, the Community Guide can be an increasingly useful resource for connecting Cambridge and Somerville residents and businesses, especially if readers help. Thanks to the small-business organization Cambridge Local First, which provided the spreadsheet that got the guide started; it has a useful member directory that can be filtered by neighborhood and category, including to find black-owned and veteran-owned businesses to support.