|BACKGROUND: The Internet is a revolutionary medium for accessing an almost infinite amount of textual and visual information. There are few subject areas that cannot be found by entering a selection of key words into one of hundreds of Web search engines. Since around 1996 the world of conchology began to make its presence on the World Wide Web through Web sites created by shell dealers, shell clubs, conchologists, and malacologists. In a matter of a few short years conchology-related Web sites are now available in great numbers, providing a wealth of information about shell collecting, shell-related activities, shells to purchase, personal collections, local shell club activities, information about national organizations, and the science of molluscan studies.
The Internet is a visual medium, and as such, incorporating digital shell images on many of these conchology Web sites was a natural. One of the most important aspects of the worldwideconchology.com Web site is included as part of the Web site name, "Conchology - The Art and Science of Nature". The shell images are presented as artforms, yet the textual information conveys basic scientific information about the shells for personal edification and shell identification. Shell colors and patterns have inspired artists, textile manufactures, and nature lovers. Shells have a broad appeal in the worlds of art and science.
WHY AN EXCLUSIVELY "CONCHOLOGY" WEB AWARD?: In an effort to help promote the creation of many more high quality and innovative conchology Web sites that build their central focus around shell images and educational information about conchology, the worldwideconchology.com Web Award has been created. Professional and well thought out Web sites boost the stature and prestige of the hobby. The award is given to Web sites which meet a basic set of criteria and parallel the philosophy of worldwideconchology.com. The Web Award is not a competition, and cannot be applied for, or solicited. Web sites will be selected for judging based on a predescribed set of criteria.
JUDGING: A rotating group of anonymous judges with backgrounds in various related disciplines will review and evaluate particular conchology-related Web sites to decide whether they meet a 5-point criteria, each graded on a percentage point system. Web sites judged to have the right stuff, with more than 75 percentage points will be eligible for the worldwideconchology.com Web Award.
ELIGIBILITY: The worldwideconchology.com Web Award is available to non-commercial Web sites created by collectors, shell clubs, malacologists, molluscan researchers, and to anyone who has created an eye-catching and innovative shell-related Web site that focuses on the aesthetic beauty and scientific aspects of shells. The Web site must be built around shell images and meet a five-point judging criteria.
1. SHELL IMAGES: The Web site should have, as its major component, high quality shell images that illustrate the beauty and bring out the detail of the illustrated shells. At least half of the images on the Web site must be photographed or digitized by the Web site owner/creator and not copied from other Web sites. POINT PERCENTAGE - up to 30%
2. SHELL IMAGE INFORMATION: The Web site should provide useful and interesting information about the illustrated shells that will have relevance to both amateur and advanced collectors, and stimulate interest in conchology among non-collectors. POINT PERCENTAGE - up to 20%
3. WEB SITE DESIGN: The Web site should enable easy navigation and be visually pleasing. The Web site design should be unique and illustrate a thought process in the use of the content elements. It is not necessary to have highly complex HTML or Java-script coded pages, but any innovative design elements are a plus. POINT PERCENTAGE - up to 20%
4. ACCURACY: A majority of the Web site should have accurate and timely information. Differing opinions about shell identification and information will be taken into consideration. Having a section of the Web site that lists a bibliography of reference books and materials used to formulate the textual information is a plus in the judges' consideration of bestowing the Award. POINT PERCENTAGE - up to 15%
5. OTHER WEB SITE CONTENT: The judges will be looking for other Web site features that make for an enjoyable and educational experience. Features such as articles, non-commercial links to other educational and relevant Web sites, trivia information, games, and multimedia are just some of the extras that will help increase the judges scores. All of these features should be incorporated with the component of shell images or shell-related information and activities. POINT PERCENTAGE - up to 15%
Award recipients will be asked to display an award logo on their homepage, or awards page. The handsome and stylish award icon will be linked to this page, which has a link to worldwideconchology.com (see below). An annual review will be conducted to ensure that each award-winning Web site maintains the same level of content and quality that originally brought it recognition. Links to winning Web sites will be available on worldwideconchology.com, including brief press releases about the winning sites. It's a natural ... let's use the Internet to promote and educate the world about the art & science of conchology.
AND THE WINNERS ARE: Click here to see the current winners of the worldwideconchology.com Web Award.
Oliva tisiphona - Colombia
Aforia goodei - Alaska
Epitonium costulatum - Thailand
Strombus taurus - Kwajalein
Semicassis bondarevi - Saya de Malha Bank
Decadopecten superbus - Philippines