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E-mail Interview with Edward C. D. Hopkins, Creator of

Q 1. Are you using a database to create your WebPages, or are they flat htmlfiles?

Simple response, flat files. There is another category: in addition to static and dynamic pages, there are the "semi-dynamic" pages, static HTML pages entirely generated with code (in my case, Visual Basic or VBA) in an Access database. An example of is the bibliography at where the index and all the bibliog. pages are entirely generated in a few seconds by code from a database attached to the main coins database. Another is the page at that was generated based on a specific query to the database. Off the record, I wrote the code for Carin Perron to auto-generate the coin pages of the Celtic Coin Index since she wants to have all static pages ( but they seem to be having server troubles at the moment).

I do have one database online that generates pages on the fly; this is the "Inscription Finder", found on the page at . My grand project, the searchable corpus of Parthian coin images, is now at about 9,000 coins, but the technical issues of mounting it are a bit more complex than I can yet handle. I'm slowly learning how to do it using ASP and SQL Server 7.
Some comments: the listings of coins on static HTML pages are inadequate to some readers' needs, and the future SQL Server 7 database will create some pages real-time. Principally, this will be the coin issuing authorities pages (Arsaces I, etc.) where ASP will create the page from the database each time it is accessed. In my database of coin images, one example of each Sellwood subtype is denoted as "exemplar" and used as the example of each subtype. ASP will also be used to implement user-defined searches of the database -- "show me all coins of Vologases VI that are drachms weighing between 3.5 and 4.0 grams", "show me all dated tetradrachms between 1 AD and 50 AD" -- with pages that look much like the current static pages.

Search engines only look at static pages, so there is a tradeoff between the efficiency of dynamic pages and the benefits of having the pages indexed by Google, Alta Vista and the other Internet search engines. There must be real consideration given to which pages you want as static, and which can be served real-time, thus remaining un-indexed.

Q 2. How many hits does your site receive per month?

About 16-20,000 visits a month, I think (since it is non-commercial, its just vanity). I have a web site counter of dubious reliability at the bottom of my home page at However, many people enter the site directly via other pages, principally from the Internet search engines. I requested WebTrends generate a report for last month's activity and will let you know. The November-to-date is attached at the end. Also, I have a free statistics tracker for just the home page at which gives some idea of peak periods and demographics.

Q 3. What steps did you take to make your site easy to find? - your site comes up in the first five choices in searches using any of the major search engines under "Parthia" or any variations or related words.

I think the key here is persistence. First, the header section of the static pages is crucial. I submitted to all the major sites manually, tracked them with a spreadsheet, and resubmitted where needed over and over. Getting other well-rated sites to link to mine was a big factor, I believe, as is having the main keyword included the URL. I spent far too much time researching how the web site engines work, and individually tailoring my submissions based on that knowledge. It is an occult art I have now forsaken, having achieved Nirvana. But if that pesky Smithsonian site creeps back to #1, I'll reengage! <grin>

Q 4. How do you keep track of the site - for administrative as well as updating purposes? (I am using Dreamweaver 4 currently - which provides many of these controls)

I began using HoTMetaL but within six months switched to MS FrontPage. It has amazing flexibility underneath its basic, simple web manager's interface. I don't think there is anything you can't do, except publish to an ISP without FrontPage extensions on their server (you can, but lose much functionality). I'm financially invested in Microsoft tools (Office XP Developer, SQL Server) and experienced in their architecture. I do use other tools, Flash 5, Photoshop 7, Acrobat 5, Fontographer 4, OmniPage 12, etc., but it is the integration of MS Word, Excel and Access with FrontPage that are most functional. Time is critical to me, and the learning curve to move to other products would be lost time and money despite their many attractive features (Dreamweaver, for example).

Q 5. Are you the list owner of Parthia-L? (I know, I should join - actually I > will soon.) IF so, has this list provided you with material for your site or do you view it as a useful adjunct to the site? (I am considering including some sort of forum for the US Paper money site - or I may limit it to something like the feedback section of your site.)

I don't own Parthia-L; Sam Kazmi started the list and I'm the moderator. I get a lot of insight into items of interest about Parthia, which I then incorporate into the site. The Feedback page has been useful in attracting comments from people who don't join mail lists. I have gotten to know more people who can contribute to the site through the Feedback page than the Parthia-L, on the whole. So both are very useful.

Along this line, I started the CoinWebs-L Yahoo list that has spurts of activity as people need to solve coin-related web issues. Surveying some of the participants there or just reading the archive may be of interest.

General Statistics (24 November 2002)

Successful Hits For Entire Site 274,536
Average Hits Per Day 10,981
Home Page Hits 4,181


Page Views (Impressions) 40,986
Average Per Day 1,639
Document Views 40,356


Visits 16,660
Average Per Day 666
Average Visit Length 00:11:29
International Visits 16.02%
Visits of Unknown Origin 15.31%
Visits from the United States 68.65%


Unique Visitors 7,871
Visitors Who Visited Once 6,467
Visitors Who Visited More Than Once 1,404