Re: Supply ... Current MB Books (BSA and Int'l Scouting)
Rodger Morris (rodger@FISHNET.NET)
Tue, 31 Dec 1996 17:51:59 -0800
Pete Farnham (>>) and Chuck Bramlet (>) wrote:
>>But stop for just a moment and look at "The BSA" purely as a
>>business. What business classifications predominate? Three, in
>>my mind. They are:
>>- Personnel Management Services
>>BSA holds the copyright on all of its publications. BSA sells the
>Good points, but I have a slightly different problem with the concept.
>While the BSA could keep more current on-line copies of its'
>publications, I would not want to see the hard copies pushed into
>the background. For one thing, it's hard to take an on-line copy into
>the field. ;) (Unless you want to take a cell phone and laptop on
>your outings. ;) ;) )
I concur. However, putting out all BSA publications yearly on CD would
be a cash cow for the BSA. It is for "PC Magazine" and several others.
PC Magazine puts out a CD of the entire contents of their magazine (~26
issues of ~400 pages each) for $17.95. I just bought my copy at a bookstore.
Just as significantly, it does not reduce the sales of their magazine.
Would I pay $20 for a comparable BSA-issued CD of all of the BSA pubs,
plus "Scouting" magazine and "Boys' Life" magazine for a given year?
Besides, with Microsoft Office 97 coming out in about a week or so, one
can publish any MS Word document as an HTML file (the format used on the
CD by "PC Magazine") by simply selecting the new option "Save as HTML"
from the FILE menu. Thus, national could kill three birds with the
proverbial one stone. To whit:
1) Maintain the documents in an electronic format that is:
a) Readable by both Macs and PCs
b) Easy to post to BSA's national and/or local council web pages
c) Easy to put onto a CD in a format that can be read by anybody
with a graphics-enabled Web browser
>We make many assumptions about ourselves and others from the way we
>think they appear. So, we assume that _everyone_ here has full "Class
>4" internet service. Actually, _all_ we have in common is email.
>Some post from AOL, some from Primenet, many from eduacational or
>business locations. The level of Internet service and WEB capability
>varies from site to site as to what is available for their subscribers.
>Some of you are on the "Cleveland Freenet". It seems to be a good
>service. I am on "Arizona Telecommunication Community Computing",
>otherwise known as Aztec. What is available here is limited compared
>to what other freenets might offer, due to an Az state law that makes
>it illegal for Aztec to "compete" with commercial ISPs. So, I have
>Lynx to brouse with, and due to the forementioned law, the download
>capability is turned off. Also, lynx = no pictures. :(
>In any case, the sale of outdated material is something that needs
>a very serious look.
>Chuck Bramlet, ASM Troop 323
>Thunderbird District, Grand Canyon Council, Phoenix, Az.
We have a balancing act that needs to be done here. The BSA needs to:
1) Provide the materials
2) Provide updates to the BSA publications in a timely manner
3) Preserve the traditional pipeline of National office to Council office
to the volunteers who need the information ASAP
4) Do #2 and #3 without overloading National's limited resources
5) Find a way to fund the effort
The BSA does an outstanding job in fulfilling item #1. Their record in
fulfillment of items 2-4 is mediocre at best. This is not an indictment,
as they are currently doing the best they can with the resources that
have existed up to this point.
However, it's now time for the BSA national office to strive for a higher
level of service to the volunteers and the children they serve, now that
the means to do so have arrived on the electronic scene.
The commonsense approach that immediately suggests itself to improve
upon this situation is a two-pronged attack on the problem at hand.
The first prong is for the BSA National office to compile update material
on a periodic basis and e-mail it to all of the councils that have e-mail
addresses. Those councils would then in turn e-mail these updates to the
volunteers in their respective councils who have indicated that they wish
to receive such updates electronically.
The second prong is the aforementioned annual CD ROM disk to be sold through
the council Trading Posts and via the BSA national mail-order catalog.
Under this paradigm of action:
1) The volunteers get complete, timely and accurate information so they
can best serve the youth in the BSA's programs
2) The local councils are still the primary conduit for the dissemination
of information by the national council
3) National has an essentially static list to maintain which need only
be updated as council e-mail addresses change (~300 list entries)
4) A disclaimer on each e-mail update would refer inquiries to each local
5) National would not be overwhelmed by the logistics of sending out
addenda to programmatic items
6) National and the council trading posts make a profit, which makes the
Item #1 is by far the most important. The other items are happy byproducts
of this approach to disseminating BSA publications in electronic as well
as paper media.
I suggest a monthly update, so as to provide useful information to be
disseminated at monthly at local district roundtable meetings.
It will be up to the volunteers in the local councils to help the
professional staff set up council e-mail servers in order to bring the
electronic upgrade to all volunteers who are on0line within each council.
A prototype model for the e-mail portion of my proposal is the monthly
electronic posting of the newsletter European Region of the World
Organization of the Scouting Movement monthly in this electronic forum and
others by Ray Saunders of WOSM.
This method of disseminating information can be used by many Scout
associations, not just by the BSA. For example, the Brits might send
theirs to each county and let them disseminate it to those who wish to
receive it. In Spain, "La Asociacion de Scouts de Espana" (ASDE) might
send theirs to each of the 25 or so zones in Spain. And so on...
It's up to use to help guide the professionals in the right direction in
their ongoing effort to ease into and properly use the electronic media in
the service of Scouting. It's also up to us to make the annual CD a success
by buying it when it comes out.
Yours in Scouting,
Rodger Morris <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Scoutmaster, Troop 852 Wood Badge 416-18
Ventura County Council at Philmont, 1973
Camarillo, California, USA "I used to be a Beaver..."
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City