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
- 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
- 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
- Megan Sapnar - PoemsThatGo.com.
Below is an excerpt from the PoemsThatGo site explaining
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
The system was coded in a modular way, making use of server
side includes for ease of maintenance, update, code portability
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 poemsthatgo.com website
to find out more about their new media poetry project here