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Web Application Development

Poems That Go Website Database Application Development  


We designed and constructed a relational database and content management system for the PoemsThatGo team, enabling easy management of their site's newmedia poetry works and articles, and making browsing and searching of the work they feature easier for their site visitors.

The system features :

  • Themes/Issues database - allowing the poems that go team to set up an index of season by season issues and themes, attaching projects and articles to each theme.
  • Projects database - where individual poetic works can be recorded, and classified into different project categories and themes/issues.
  • Artists database - where the team can build artist profiles, links to artists contact details and websites.
  • An artist type database - where artists can be classified into differing roles and attached to the projects they have participated in.
  • Classification system - Projects can be classified into different project type categories and connected to the themes and issues featured each season on poems that go. New categories can be created and managed by the team as needed.
  • Articles database - where articles can be indexed and related to the projects, themes, issues and artists.
  • Software database - recording the various software types used in the delivery of the newmedia works, and providing information and download links for software required to view the work. New software types can be added and managed as required by the poems that go team.

The whole system is managed through a password controlled and user friendly administration area.

All of the data mentioned above can be intricately connected, utilising an easy to use attachment based system in the administration area to manage the relationships between the databases.

We created a front end to the database allowing users of the site to browse projects, artists, themes and issues and explore the relationships between them, and a search engine to allow boolean searches for projects featuring key words.

In return for our completion of the project, the PoemsThatGo team kindly made a donation to a nonprofit environmental organisation of our choice.


"We are so pleased with the database and content management system that the Ethical Design Collective has developed for Poems that Go. It is a tremendous asset that not only makes the site easy to manage, update, and archive, but also provides cross-referencing capabilities that make this a valuable resource for the electronic literature community.

This project could not have gone any smoother, undoubtedly due to the Collective’s incisive anticipation of future needs, possibilities, and areas of growth, as well as potential conflicts to avoid. They were always prompt, thorough, and professional. But mostly, their genuine interest in the success of our project really showed. I feel like we got the chance to build a positive relationship with a talented and dedicated group that demonstrates the best of what collaborative work can offer. I would enthusiastically recommend the Ethical Design Collective for any design or Internet project."

- Megan Sapnar -




Below is an excerpt from the PoemsThatGo site explaining their purpose:

Although we use the term "new media poetry" as a genre of "electronic literature" to describe the work included in Poems that Go, "literature" itself proves to be a pesky term. Indeed, we have been accused of devaluing the word at the expense of the image.

Our goal here is not to elevate one art above the rest, but to seek an inclusive understanding of literature, one that goes beyond written text-based works, to include visual, aural and media literacy.

In this spirit, Poems that Go explores the intersections between motion, sound, image, text, and code. The work we feature explores how language is shaped in new media spaces, how interactivity can change the meaning of a sign, how an image can conflict with a sound, and how code exerts machine-order on a text.

We'd like to think of this space on the Web as a creative field for this generation's artists and writers to probe the medium's potential and integrate these art forms to challenge the definition of poetry. One which challenges you, the new viewers, readers, writers and artists, to discover extraordinary ways to make sense of language, art, and narrative in a way that is both critical and entertaining.


The system was coded using Microsoft's Active Server Pages scripting language, utilising an Access 2000 database.

The code was written in such a way to allow easy migration to a fully blown relational database management system such as Microsoft SQL Server or MySQL Server if required in the future.

The system was coded in a modular way, making use of server side includes for ease of maintenance, update, code portability and reusability.


The Poems That Go website was already well established. We designed and constructed the database functionality mentioned above but were not responsible for its visual design. We worked within the style guidelines already in place in the delivery of the front-end database functionality.

Visit The Web Site

Our system will be made live for the April 2003 issue of the poems that go.

In the mean time you can visit the website to find out more about their new media poetry project here »»


copyright 2003 the ethical design collective