Vie's Inn of Wonders' Awards

Interview CSOTY 2002-winner

Content Site of the Year 2002: Gods, Heros & Myth (opens in new window)Content Site of the Year 2002-award

We are very pleased to have with us Nikki Burke, owner and Webmistress of Gods, Heroes and Myth, that won our Content Site of the Year-award 2002...

Nikki, what made you start in building a website?

Nikki Burke: Well, I was following statistics class in college where you sit at computer desks and do some minor, and mostly boring, statistics work. That semester I was also taking my first mythology course which was a great experience. I picked up on the subject matter very quickly, while many in the class didn't (as is the case with a lot of literature). So statistics left me with much time to play around on the computer. I decided to use my tripod space as the beginning of my mythology website, as that was my biggest interest. The rest is history, a few months and hits later I move to a friends server, and then later to yahoo and my own domain. My first website however was a personal one filled with everything you could imagine, from music to blinking text and graphics. To this day it makes me smile because it's where everyone starts. Once you grow from it, you can't help but look back and smile; especially when you are helping someone still at that point...

*Smiles* I'm sure we can all indeed relate to that... Now what fascinates you so in Mythology and how has this grown?

Nikki: I have always been an avid reader and artist and my tastes have always veered towards fantasy and myths. First I started with typical fantasy stories and texts and then later branched into mythology and philosophy in general. My college mythology class really served to peak my interest even further, and now I always find a mythology text on the table with a notebook and pen near by to take notes with. Those notes then get inserted into my webpages as I have time to write. I love how things are always different in mythology, it lets your mind wander but at the same time can serve as a great learning and teaching tools. Although otherworldly in a sense, mythology is very grounded in morals and culture.

I see, but getting all that info can't be easy... How do you get yours?

Nikki: Reading, reading, and more reading. *smiles* Everything on my website comes from books and I suppose a bit from websites, but I have found many with incorrect statements over the years. However, there are also a few that are true mythological gems. As I mentioned above I am always reading a mythology text bit by bit and when I find facts that interest me I write them down into a notebook mentioning which section and whom or where they would fit well with. When time permits I try to work these facts into what I have already written. When my website was rewritten I really strove to make it research friendly. There are a lot of quite bites of information broken down into sections so that the searcher doesn't get bored or discouraged. Finding images that I am able to use is the difficult part due to copyright reasons. Thankfully I have found some wonderful people on the internet that have given me access to their images which you see throughout the website.

What is in your opinion the key word in making an excellent content site?

Nikki: Excellent content and a design and navigation that complements it. I see so many websites that are only interested in the newest design technologies but then want you to see the website as a content one. I have found that having a good design, while not always flashy, promotes the content of the website. Naturally along with that is great navigation. Setting up and deciding on a navigational structure can easily be the most time consuming part at the beginning. Being that I'm stubborn and hand code everything... it also happens to be the most irritating part.

What are the things you have to pay attention to?

Nikki: Oh boy copyright definitely. Although I think it is a very grey area, I'm proud to say that everything on my website is original. There's a great feeling to know that what is there has been entirely written by you. I also try to be original on what facts I have there. I have seen so many mythology sites that are all the same and contain only the same facts. Since I read a variation of books and take notes, I try to get different points of view and facts to present on the website. This is why it is always building and being expanded upon.

A website is never finished, right? Now, how important is receiving awards to you?

Nikki: This is a difficult question because they have different meanings, and some honestly mean more than others. It is always appreciative to have others visit your site and feel that it is worthy of their award. Honestly I love the people that come to my site and tell me some things they would like to see or have improved. I can't do everything but am always willing to try. On the other hand, those people who bestow lower awards on my site but can't or won't tell me why, confuses the heck out of me. *laughs out loud* I love constructive criticism, but not being left in the dark.

Well, this sure was a revealing interview... Thank you, Nikki Burke, and I wish you and your wonderful site all the best in the future...

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