Merit Badge Numbers (was Re: MB Requirements)
Bruce B. Harper (BHARPER@VTVM1.CC.VT.EDU)
Thu, 3 Jun 1993 10:17:37 EDT
I've deleted the long discussion of numbering, re-numbering, alphabetizing,
and re-alphabetizing merit badges for the sake of brevity.
The problem of numbering merit badges is not limited to the BSA--it is
part of a larger problem of keeping track of data no matter where it is.
I am currently in the middle of a data standardization project to try to
bring some order to the various university data bases that are used around
and across campus--facilities, personnel, etc. What we have found (the two
of us doing the project) is that key identifiers often have multiple uses
assigned to them. In personnel, the position number can mean many things
depending on how it is structured--if it starts with 0 it is a classified
staff position, if it starts with F it is a faculty position, and if it
is F6666, it is a graduate student--but there aren't separate, individual
postion numbers for graduate students, they are all F6666. It gets even
more complicated and is very maddening.
The recommendation that will be made (as was done with the facilities
data) is that there be established a key identifier that will not have
any other meaning attached to it. There is now an ID number for each
building or site owned or leased by Virginia Tech. There should be such
an identifier for each position. When a new building is built, it gets the
next available number on the list. When a new position is created, it
should get the next available number on the list.
The implications for BSA and merit badges? There should be a UNIQUE
identifier for each merit badge and they should never be reused, EVER.
When the Farm Records merit badge was replaced by Agribusiness, the
Agribusiness merit badge should have received the next available ID
number, even it is was 398. Farm Records, at, say, 45, would go away and
the number 45 would never be assigned to another merit badge ever again.
That way, the Farm Records merit badge would still be "available" on a
master list of merit badges, with some indicator of when it was started and
when it was discontinued.
This can be done in a mainframe database, on a PC, or kept on 3X5 index
cards. It is nothing fancy, but it makes keeping track of things without
confusion much easier. Merit badges may come and go, but the numbering
scheme would be consistent and one would not have to worry about what
badge #1 is from year to year.
Now, how does one get the National folks to adopt something so elegant
and so simple? :-)
Administrative Display System Bruce B. Harper, Manager
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0433
==Assistant Webelos Den Leader, Pack 56, Blacksburg==
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