EAE Award Winners 2008
Chakoteya's Transcripts Site (January 2008)
"This is your one-stop site for who said what and when on Star Trek." Sure, other than that Chakoteya's Transcripts Site is a rather inconspicuous place. Still it is a site that all Trek fans with more than a passing interest will find very valuable, because it is much faster and easier to look for Trek quotes in this online database than on DVDs or even video tapes. Coded in clean HTML without unnecessary gadgetry, searching or browsing the site is straightforward. The meticulous work comprises the transcripts of all TOS, Voyager and Enterprise episodes, and TNG as a work in progress with frequent updates. This makes the site a deserving recipient of the EAE Award and a place that I keep bookmarked for frequent reference. Congratulations!
Trekdnes.cz and Star Trek Sickbay (February 2008)
In my list of EAE Award candidates I found two sites with a similar theme and both in Czech language, Star Trek Sickbay and Trekdnes.cz. Both sites act as portals to the world of Trek and they feature extensive episode guides to all Trek series with many screen captures. Trekdnes.cz focuses on news and background reports on the franchise, including interviews with the production crew. Star Trek Sickbay excels with databases such as on starships or alien species. Both sites are easy to navigate and overall pleasantly designed. The decision between the perhaps more stylish Trekdnes.cz interface and the more colorful look of Star Trek Sickbay is just a matter of taste. I don't know which site I should prefer, so I decided to give an award to both of them.
The Phoenixium (March 2008)
Reading through my previous appraisals of EAE Award recipients, one tendency is that I usually prefer simplistic user interfaces over convoluted graphical site designs. But there are exceptions. The Phoenixium, the personal 3D portfolio of Dak Phoenix, has great artwork of Trek, other science fiction, real-world stuff and anime. Also included are a small number of 3D video sequences. It is not a Trek site in the narrow sense, as also indicated by its original "Phoenix" theme. The tastefully animated and flawlessly working Flash design clearly stands out among the 3D art sites. It is interesting to follow the design evolution from the colorful version of 1998 to today's "steel" look V 7.5 in the site's archive. While it is certainly not the largest web portfolio, the steady work on design and content for almost ten years makes The Phoenixium a deserving winner of the EAE Award.
Memory Beta (April 2008)
This month's EAE Award goes to Memory Beta - a wiki site that is nothing less than the most comprehensive database on licensed Star Trek content, such as comics, novels, reference books, computer games, card games or RPGs. The focus on non-canon data does not mean at all that Memory Beta is a second-rate resource. It may have appeared like a stepchild of Memory Alpha when it was launched in 2005. However, the site has grown to as much as 21,000 pages today, and the level of activity is nearly as high as on Memory Alpha. There is almost no need to mention that Memory Beta, like every good online encyclopedia, offers various possibilities to find content through textual searches, categories and indices. Finally, it is noteworthy that a set of quality criteria regulate the presentation of content, which is important in the light of the very different types of media that Memory Beta covers. Congratulations to all the people who have been building this terrific site!
Star Trek Starship Handbooks (May 2008)
Mark Gill has created something for all fans who always wanted more comprehensive information on starship classes than in official publications, and who would like to print it out. The result is a collection of so far four PDF files about the canon vessels of Starfleet and about the most notable alien powers. His work is well-crafted and thoroughly researched, limiting the amount of conjecture to a necessary minimum. The PDF format is ideal to be printed out, and it ensures maximum accessibility as well as long durability. I am looking forward to Volume 5, perhaps dealing with the ships of the 22nd century. Anyway, thanks to Mark for providing what EAS visitors have been asking me to create for years but what I never got round to do!
Cardassia Primera (June 2008)
"Todo Star Trek está en Cardassia Primera." - Cardassia Primera from Argentina may be an old-style database, but holds its ground against modern concepts like Wikipedia. Aside from the frequently updated news on the index page the site informs about various aspects of the Trek Universe such as starships, races, lifeforms, planets, particles, beverages or the Bajoran Orbs. Occurrences of the number 47 are listed, as well as errors in Star Trek movies and series. A special section is dedicated to information about the Cardassians. The content of Cardassia Primera is easy to browse, without excessive sub-menus and without the need to look up everything with the search function. Its design keeps a balance between complexity in the menus and simplicity in the content area, everything in a pleasant original gray-orange color scheme.
Star Trek Auction Listings (July 2008)
I was sad when I read about the various auctions of countless Star Trek props and costumes. While the official announcement still called the Christie's auction a "celebration of the 40th anniversary", it has obviously become a closing-down sale of the Art Department by now. It is only comforting that most props and costumes go to fans and collectors who take good care of them. And I am glad that there is Star Trek Auction Listings, a weekly updated archive that keeps track of all items that are being sold. The site was created and is maintained by Memory Alpha contributors Bp, Jörg, and Enzo Aquarius and it is hosted at StarTrekPropCollector.com, another fine place dedicated to Trek props. The site design is not spectacular but practical, owing to its function as an illustrated database. More importantly, all information is easily accessible from the main page, with special emphasis on the biggest and still ongoing "It's a Wrap" sale at eBay. A customizable search function is included just as well as special rankings of the items. Congratulation to the creators of Star Trek Auction Listings for a terrific job in preserving the history of Star Trek!
Chekov Site and Walter Koenig Site (August 2008)
This month's two awarded sites are maintained by the same author and share a common layout. They are among the most versatile sites dedicated to a Star Trek character and a Star Trek actor, respectively. On the Walter Koenig Site we can find his biography, filmography, photos, statements and a list of appearances. The part that deserves special attention is Walter Koenig's campaign for human rights in Burma, with personal accounts, pictures and videos. The Pavel Chekov Site naturally focuses on the character's appearances on Star Trek. It offers everything we would expect from a decent fan site, such as quotes, an image gallery, fan art and fan fiction. In addition, there is a section dedicated to the exploration of space and one about Russia. The two sites don't use the latest in web design, but it becomes clear once more that it is more important to care about the content, which webmistress Andriech (supported by Vengaurd) does frequently. Finally, I wish Walter Koenig all the best for his endeavors. He is certainly lucky to have fans like these!
Kethinov - Star Trek Reviews (September 2008)
Episode guides -with our without personal remarks- may be the most common content on Star Trek sites ever since the Internet's inception. And still there is always something to be improved about their presentation. Kethinov has created a site with concise reviews of all episodes and movies (with some flattering stylistic similarities to EAS), with a highly customizable search interface and with a commenting and rating feature for his readers. He combines the best of conventional websites and of highly structured databases, and proves once again that personal programming efforts outperform the very limited options of predefined blogging software. I admit that, at times, I am envious that my own episode reviews are neither similarly well-arranged nor interactive. Congratulations to Kethinov!
Adge's Star Trek LCARS Site (October 2008)
This month's EAE Award goes to Adge's Star Trek LCARS Site that combines an illustrated Trek database with beautifully animated LCARS artwork of many different eras and styles. Although most users would probably prefer a plain and simple interface whenever they seek for specific information, Adge has created an extensive graphical site design (well, I admit I switched off the mouse trail ;-)). Considering that personal Trek databases are in a difficult position anyway because they could never keep up with Memory Alpha, I think it was a wise decision to take a different approach and turn it into a browsing experience with a very personal touch. But the highest praise goes to Adge because he keeps caring about all aspects of the site from the loads of content to all the custom-made scripts and Flash animations. Well-maintained complex sites have become a rare exception in recent years, or they were simply replaced by effortless blogging software.
USS Phoenix (November 2008)
This is the first time (that I am aware of) that the EAE Award goes to Poland. USS Phoenix is an all-round Trek site with a database, news and various interactive features such as episode rating, a chat and a discussion forum. The site with its decent and consistent design with "boxed content" is very fast and easy to browse. A special feature that I like at the second glance is the descriptive text that rolls up as the mouse is moved over a section link. I have seen so many obtrusive animated navigation aids on other sites that this comes as a pleasant surprise. The site design wins extra points because the page width is adaptable, and not simply limited to something like 800 pixels. Well, I don't speak Polish and probably won't learn it, but if I did, USS Phoenix would be the place of my choice for my Trek needs. Congratulations to the team that has designed and maintains USS Phoenix!
Starship Dimensions (December 2008)
Strictly speaking, Jeff Russell's Starship Dimensions is not really a Star Trek site. But with so many Trek ships in his database it's close enough to receive my EAE Award eventually. There are two unique features about Starship Dimensions. The first is that it allows a size comparison of starships from different sci-fi universes, without the usual bias of the tedious "Star Trek vs. Star Wars" debates. The second is the option to drag the depictions across the screen (in Internet Explorer), as a tangible addition to the mere charts. I have been following the development of the site since its creation, and it was clear to me that the concept, skillfully implemented by Jeff, would prove successful. Still, it is amazing how the site has gained widespread recognition even outside the cozy realm of geekdom. I hope that Jeff will carry on with his great work, and if he needs any more Trek ships, he can always count on me.