Case Study: Grethe Cammermeyer

Cammermeyer.comIn 1989, Col. Margarethe Cammermeyer, having served in the US Army for 25 years, challenged the military’s anti-gay policy. Her story drew national attention and her autobiography, Serving in Silence, was adapted into a television movie.

Colonel Grethe Cammermeyer’s own life experiences helped shape the focus of her website. She is a Vietnam veteran and Bronze Star recipient, former Chief Nurse of the Washington State National Guard, the 1998 Democratic nominee from the 2nd Congressional District of Washington, a gay activist, the mother of four and grandmother of seven.

Thus, in addition to a personal glimpse into the lives of Grethe and her family, the site provides information and resources on Military Issues, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues, Health Issues and Politics, as well as issuing “Action Alerts” on these and other issues of concern. The message board provides a forum for dialogue between Grethe and visitors to her website. Admin LoginIn order to give Grethe access to edit site content herself, CyberInfinity Design developed a dynamic database-driven website with a custom-built administrative interface. Virtually all of the content that one sees on the site is actually stored in a SQL database which Grethe can edit using the administrative interface. Through this interface, she can control the content of individual pages, add or edit resources and links, update action alerts and upload photos. The interface also allows for administration of the message board and two separate email lists.

When visitors submit recommendations for additional resources, they are entered directly into the database and Grethe is notified by email. After screening the suggested resources, it takes only a few clicks for her to approve them and they are then immediately visible on the website. A similar notification and approval strategy is used with the message board, in order to allow Grethe to screen all posts before they are live on the site. AdminGrethe used her site to collect stories from GLBT veterans and service members for possible inclusion in an upcoming book on the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Veterans can submit their stories from the website. The stories are also saved directly to the database. To protect their privacy, this information is visible only within the password-protected administrative interface.

By working closely with Col. Cammermeyer to determine her goals and needs, CyberInfnity Design created a website that fulfills both her desire for comprehensive, yet user-friendly, control of the site’s content and her vision for the site itself.