As a continuation of its program to encourage and promote all forms of philatelic literature, The International Philatelic Federation (Fedération Internationale de Philatélie - FIP) has provided for an annual evaluation of philatelic Web sites. The evaluation specifically recognizes those sites which, in the opinion of the evaluating panel, are especially deserving in terms of content, philatelic significance and production. In addition, it provides short critiques for all participating sites, with helpful suggestions for possible improvement. This began in 1999.
This does not involve participation in one of the FIP-recognized world philatelic exhibitions. Instead, this will be a once-per-year evaluation process of those philatelic Web Sites whose webmasters or sponsoring organizations wish to participate. Experience has shown that it is impractical, if not in fact nearly impossible, to try to evaluate a selection of Web pages during the short time available for judging at a stamp show. Thus this approach was selected.
The evaluation includes the following classes of entries:
- Open class, consisting of sites maintained by individuals, groups, philatelic societies, philatelic libraries or similar organizations who are members or affiliates of an FIP National Federation;
- Official class, consisting of sites maintained by postal administrations which are members of the UPU.
- Participants must apply for evaluation using either the FIP on-line application form, or through e-mail. Applications may be submitted electronically or by mail to the address specified on the application form.
NOTICE - - The 2003 Philatelic Web Site Evaluations have been cancelled!
- A copy of the application form, together with an administrative fee of U.S. $25 or equivalent, must be submitted to the appropriate national FIP member federation. Upon determination that the applicant meets the necessary membership/affiliation qualification, the FIP evaluation panel will inform the applicant of the site's acceptance for evaluation.
- Sites will be evaluated live, not from hard copies, CDs or diskettes. To provide equal opportunity of available technology and to allow applicants to schedule upgrades and site maintenance, all sites will be accessed, reviewed and downloaded on the same date, as designated on the application form and/or confirmation notice. In the event of uncontrollable circumstances which may affect availability or functioning of a site on the specified date, it is the responsibility of the applicant to promptly notify the FIP evaluation panel to allow for possible revisit of the site or refund of the application fee.
- Panel members will individually review each site, then reach a consensus evaluation. Those sites considered by the panel as especially deserving will be recognized as FIP's "Best Philatelic Sites" of the year, and will be authorized to display the specially designed FIP logo on their sites acknowledging that distinction. As warranted, special prizes may also be awarded. All participants will receive individual critiques reflecting the panel's findings, to include comments on specific strengths and suggestions for possible improvement. Results will be announced at a selected FIP world exhibition.
Guidelines for Evaluating Web Sites (see Evaluation Scheme)
The guidelines published for use of the evaluation panel were prepared by Charlie Peterson, and generally follow the guidelines for judging philatelic literature as published in the APS Manual for Judges, Fourth edition. (Available from the American Philatelic Society, P.O. Box 8000, State College, PA 16803. $12.00; $9.60 for APS members. May be ordered online from the APS Web Site. The new Fifth Edition does not include Philatelic Literature guidelines due to time constraints and publishing deadlines. The new Philatelic Literature judging guidelines are now available on the APS Web site at http://www.stamps.org/directories/dir_LitJudging.htm).
The evaluator is asked to note his initial response to the opening screen: "is it 'friendly' with information about the site and what's on it? Does it have navigational assistance right there, or do you need to do something else to access the site's real first page? Is there a puzzle of what to do to access any real information? Are you greeted by a dazzling display of confusing and distracting animations."
(In general, a web site should not be channeled so narrowly that it may be viewed satisfactorily only with the latest version of a specific web browser or that the viewer must have the latest fad software installed on his or her machine. Webmasters must keep in mind that their efforts will be looked at by people around the world, and they will not all have the latest software from Microsoft or high-end chips from Intel in their computer system or be going online with a DSL / ADSL or cable connection.)
After the Evaluation the participants will receive:
- Publicity for the sites, by mention and documentation at the FIP international exhibition which will serve as the showcase for the Web site evaluation. The 1999 showcase was the CHINA '99 World Exhibition, held in Beijing, 21-30 August. The showcase for the 2000 results was ESPAÑA 2000, held in Madrid, 6-14 October. The results of the 2001 evaluations were announced in Copenhagen, Denmark at HAFNIA '01, 16-21 October and the 2002 results were announced in Seoul, Korea during PhilaKorea 02, 02-11 August.
The results will also be noted on the various philatelic newsgroups and mailing lists (e.g. rec.collecting.stamps.discuss and the STAMPS Mail List.); while the full awards list will be posted on this site but also on both the FIP Web Site and the Philatelic Computing Study Group web site, and published in the October issue of The Compulatelist. Additionally, announcement of the top-rated sites will be made in releases sent to the philatelic press.
- It is intended that the participants will also receive written critiques of their sites, in terms of philatelic content, authorship, technical factors, appearance and overall significance, together with suggestions for improvement where appropriate will be provided the entrants.
- Those sites that are considered by the evaluation panel to be especially deserving will be recognized as Top 5% sites and the best of these sites will be the "FIP Best Web Site" for that year, and will be authorized to display a specially-designed FIP logo. Other sites will be identified as Three-Star and Two-Star sites for that year.