Agnieszka’s Dowry

Comparison of online and print

  • The AgD web site features graphics and poetry texts, including the up-to-date partial-content of any issue still open for submissions, as well as the full content of the closed issues—as an expanding permanent web installation. Agnieszka’s Dowry print version, mirroring strictly the online textual content, appears as a chapbook series. This is why both versions share the same ISSN and formally differ only through the assigned unique ISBN designating each chapbook.

    In print, Agnieszka’s Dowry content appears as alphabetized-by-author texts, while online the poems are grouped and sequenced for contextual effects and deliberately engineered interplay. Graphically, however, the online issues organize their content as hypertext in a series of circularly linked poems lodged in rooms. All the rooms are directly accessible from the magazine’s front page, in addition to being accessible via other hypertext links involving A Small Garlic Press’s online catalog of chapbooks. Within the rooms, the links to individual texts are obscured and represented by art and graphics, yet once reading any one text, the navigation is made explicit to the user and made regular immediately below each text, allowing for rapid, predictable browsing. Despite the deliberate obfuscation with rich graphics on room entry, the online issue is optimized for textual browsing using the Lynx web browser, in fact, in a way that does not involve the use of the mouse or the tab to navigate through the content, just the spacebar and carriage return/enter. The online version strives to be user agent-neutral. These design and use dichotomies (rich graphical content vs. a textual browsing-optimized web installation; a permanent online installation vs. paper chapbook publication) are maintained consistently throughout.

    As of 2009, Agnieszka’s Dowry has appeared in 14 online issues and 13 printed issues and chapbooks. Issue 14 remains partly populated, remaining open for additional submissions, and Issues 2 and 3 were combined as one paper volume. The online version is freely accessible.

    The arbitrary pace of expanding, never contracting, of Agnieszka’s Dowry, is underscored by the 2002 date of the Issue 14 timestamps. There are two kinds of timestamps used throughout the Agnieszka’s Dowry website. The earliest one and once written, never changed, is the Created at timestamp. Its integrity is enforced unconditionally and demanded by Library of Congress, as condition of assigning an ISSN common to both versions. The other timestamp, a more everyday, familiar mechanism, is the Updated last tag. It will reflect the last edit done by a human. It, too, is enforced, but only through the anarchy and self-moderation of its maintainers, So far, its maintainers have been, working together or alone, LeeAnn Heringer and Marek Lugowski. Credit for maintenance, design, and implementation is given explicitly throughout the online installation. The entire crediting mechanism, be it authors, maintainers, editors, administrators, or any other future conceivable complication, are always specifically and lucidly presented on the very page. This design has not changed, has resisted pressure for updating, and remains the same, since conceived by Heringer and Lugowski. The timiestamps are maintained only by hand.

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