SCA-Grp-Drect-art - 9/23/02
"Creating a Society Group Directory" by Lord Dalkrvor the Intimid (Ms. Dok Tael Murphy)
This article was submitted to me by the author for inclusion in this set
of files, called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at:
Copyright to the contents of this file remains with the author.
While the author will likely give permission for this work to be
reprinted in SCA type publications, please check with the author first
or check for any permissions granted at the end of this file.
Mark S. Harris
AKA: Stefan li Rous
stefan at florilegium.org
Creating a Society Group Directory
by Lord Dalkrvor the Intimid (Ms. Dok Tael Murphy)
A directory serves one major purpose: to provide contact information for an SCA group. As maintainer of an SCA group's mailing list, the Chronicler has the best opportunity for providing directory service to his/her peers. This article will review options for presenting contact information and precedence listing in an SCA directory, as well as suggestions to make your directory interesting.
A directory can be very useful, but can also present several challenges. How do you obtain contact information for each person in your group? How do you keep it up to date? Are you allowed to publish it? How should it be formatted, to keep it easy-to-use but still interesting?
The first question you need to address is, what constitutes being a member of your SCA group? Do you only want to list people who have SCA membership cards, or include everyone who attends events or participates in SCA activities?
My personal opinion favors the latter option. Some people cannot afford to belong to the SCA proper, or have no need for official membership. I personally do not believe they should be treated differently in a directory listing. Unpaid members receive awards and contribute to the Society in general.
Consider this question in the context of your mailing list. I have always sent newsletters, free of charge, to anyone in my SCA group who is interested in receiving one. I feel that, if that person is not already an SCA member, my newsletter is providing information about the Society and upcoming events that they will probably find very useful.
If you are unsure who is a member in your SCA group, you may want to clarify this definition with your Seneschal or higher power (ie, Baron/Baroness) before proceeding.
There are several methods available for compiling contact information for the people in your group, depending on your group's size.
-- Mailing List: One place to start is your newsletter's mailing list. Especially if you don't have a subscription rate, it's usually a good idea to contact every person on your mailing list at least once per year. I generally use this series of statements and questions when telephoning:
-- Hello, I am [modern name] from the SCA. I need to confirm some information to continue sending you "The Name of My Newsletter." Being professional, polite and to the point often helps gain people's trust. Once they figure out you aren't a telemarketer, they are usually open to answering your questions.
-- Are you still participating in the SCA? Sometimes people (for whatever reason) decide to leave the SCA. Why send an expensive newsletter to someone who doesn't appreciate it? Remember to stay calm if a former participant responds less than courteously.
-- Confirm the SCA name, title, and modern name, including the spelling. I've found that people who neglect to tell others that they have changed their SCA name become very irate when they see their old name in print. It's worth the extra effort to confirm an SCA name and its spelling before publishing this information.
-- Can I confirm your mailing address, telephone number and e-mail address? (Read it to them). People relocate but their address change may not result in a bounced newsletter back to you for several months. Always check this information.
NOTE: If you are a Baronial Chronicler, you could ask your canton chroniclers to confirm and compile this information for you. It should save on some long-distance telephone charges, too.
- Populace Meetings: If your group holds regular meetings, you can obtain contact information there. Bring a print-out of the contact information you have to date, sorted alphabetically, and distribute it for review. Ask people to initial next to their name if everything is okay, so you know the data has been reviewed.
- Events: It's not as effective, but checking folks' contact information at events is another option. Follow the same format as for Populace Meetings. If the Autocrat agrees, you can always check some information against the sign-in sheet at Troll if you can't find the actual person.
If you're starting from scratch with a large group (ie, a barony), you might want to enlist help from several of your friends.
**Permission to Publish**
As Chroniclers are painfully aware, you need a signed permission to publish statement in order to print someone's article or original artwork. After spending many months obtaining permission-to-publish authorizations from everyone in the Barony of Andelcrag, I specifically asked the Middle Kingdom Chronicler whether I needed permission to print someone's address, telephone number, etc. She replied that publishing contact information in a printed directory would not require written permission to publish.
Although this decision stands on legal principle, you may want to get authorization when you compile your first version of the directory out of courtesy. Some people may not want all of their contact information printed. If someone's telephone number is unlisted, for example. In cases like this, ask the person if you can print at least their e-mail address, so other members of the SCA group still have a way of contacting them.
Remember that web site listings are completely different. The Midrealm has specific regulations regarding posting contact information on a web site. In this case, you do need written authorization from every single person.
**Making the List**
After you've accumulated all this information, the next step is to figure out how to present it. You can use a spreadsheet or an alphabetical listing, sorted any number of ways.
If you have a rather small group, a spreadsheet might be a viable solution. A table with columns for each person's modern name, SCA name, mailing address, telephone number and e-mail address can be easily generated. Sorting alphabetically either by SCA name or modern name would make the list easy to peruse. However, you are typically limited to sorting using either one or the other, not both. Also, I would not use this method if the spreadsheet would extend to more than four pages.
The advantage of an alphabetical list, is that you can sort it so many ways. You can sort it by modern last name, like the regular telephone directory. Or you could sort if by SCA first name or last name.
Now let me share what I've learned from experience. Let's say you meet a nice woman at an SCA event, and they tell you that their name is "Doc." You don't know if that's their modern name or SCA name, and you have no idea what her last name is, at all.
Looking at a directory sorted by modern last name, you would have to search through every listing to find the person you are seeking. Imagine sorting through a telephone book - even a relatively thin one - looking for a first name you recognize.
On the other hand, if the directory was sorted using every part of the person's modern and SCA name, you could find that person much faster. This is what such a listing would look like:
- Daffyd Stone (Daffy Rosensoldad) 99 Fourth Street, Muskegon, MI 49058. Rosensoldad at brokensword.com
- Dalkrvor the Intimid (Ms. Dok Murphy) 280 Powell Road, Hastings, MI 49058. 616-948-1273. Dok at cablespeed.com
- Darien Axebiter (Mr. Hal Dingus) 123 Hypothetical Road, Hell, MI 98765. 123-456-7890
- Daring Drinker, Vrithgrue the (Mr. Jim Smith) 87 Mead Avenue, Lansing, MI 49048. 517-654-0987.
- Deerstalker, Hrothgar the (Mr. Brian Viking) 321 Archery Way, Kalamazoo, MI 49007. 616-123-4567. Deerstalker at viking.com
- Dingus, Hal (Darien Axebiter) 123 Hypothetical Road, Hell, MI 98765. 123-456-7890. Dingus at aol.com
- Dok Murphy (Dalkrvor the Intimid) 280 Powell Road, Hastings, MI 49058. 616-948-1273. Dok at cablespeed.com
- Dominque Francisco. 33 Idonhavanscaname Street, Grand Rapids, MI 49445. 616-999-8888. Dom at confused.com
Not only have you found out that "Doc" is actually "Dok Murphy," but now you know her SCA name is "Dalkrvor the Intimid" and how to contact her.
Note the listing for Dominque Francisco. He doesn't have an SCA name. If you were listing solely by SCA first or last name, he wouldn't fit in to your plan.
Clearly, sorting the contact information alphabetically by every name the person has, both SCA and modern, makes it easier to find someone. Even if you only remembered part of the person's name, you could track them down with some sense of accuracy.
For a small group, the list could be updated once every six months. However, for larger groups, I wouldn't suggest printing a new update more than annually.
I've found that updating your electronic copy of the directory throughout the year, as address and name changes occur, is the most effective means for keeping the directory up-to-date. This saves you from mild insanity when it's time to print the next directory, and you would otherwise have to compile all this information, all over again.
"Precedence" refers to the ranking of individuals according to the awards they have received in the SCA. Including precedence information in your group's directory makes it just that much more valuable and useful.
Often, your group herald will have this information at hand. If not, you could use the information gathering tools explained under "Contact Information" to determine precedence levels. However, I caution you that people's memories are often faulty, by no fraudulent intention of their own. You can verify award receipt on-line at the Midrealm web site, or review past copies of "The Pale" to confirm award dates.
*TYPE OF LIST*
There are several ways to present this information, including an Order of Precedence or a List of Precedence. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of precedence lists.
*Order of Precedence*
An Order of Precedence (OoP) lists individuals ranked according to highest award and the date upon which it was given. An OoP has been construed as hierarchical, of interest only to those members of the Society interested in rank. Its advantage is that you can quickly identify those members of your group who have received the highest accommodation by the Dragon Throne. However, the identity of these folks is often not a mystery; they have titles like "Sir," "Mistress" and "Count."
I've never been trained as a herald, but I think I've figured out some basic rules relative to precedence-sorted lists. Generally, each person is ranked according to the highest award s/he has received. If more than one person has received the same award, you list the person who received it at the earliest date, first. If a bunch of people received the same award on the same day, list them alphabetically within the same ranking. An example of an OoP list may look like this:
1. Sir Logan MacCoinnich [John MacKenzie] KSCA (03/24/2001); ORC (08/16/1996); ODT (08/14/1997); APF (02/10/2001); APF (02/15/1997); AOA (03/27/1993)
2. Sir Garth of the Crags [Craig White] KSCA (02/09/2002); ODH (02/10/2001); OGM (02/10/2001); ODT (03/18/2000); ORC (06/15/1997); APF (06/15/1997); OW (09/16/1995); AOA (01/30/1988)
3. Lord Cerdic the Blodletere [George Tyler] OCK [08/14/1997]; AOA (01/14/1995)
4. Lord Cathal MacDoyl [Aaron Dehring] APF (06/20/1998); AOA (05/09/1998)
5. Lady Caitlyn of Green Castle [Kathleen Dehring] APF (02/09/2000); AOA (05/09/1998)
6. Lord Dalkrvor the Intimid [Dok Murphy] APF (06/25/2000); AOA (12/06/1997)
In the example above, Sir Logan was knighted before Sir Garth, so Sir Logan has higher precedence than Sir Garth, even though Sir Garth has more awards than Sir Logan.
Also note that I have listed people's titles. I started including the person's title so folks could learn what titles accompany which awards. A List of Precedence (LoP) can list information any way you wish. A LoP is can be functionally more helpful than an OoP, if organized in a logical manner, such as alphabetically by SCA first name.
An alphabetical LoP provides a quick resource for determining whether a deserving individual in your group has received an award lately, or to what extent. An alphabetically-sorted LoP with the same information would look like this:
- Caitlyn of Green Castle (Kathleen Dehring) APF (02/09/00); AOA (05/09/98)
- Cathal MacDoyl (Aaron Dehring) APF (06/20/98); AOA (05/09/98)
- Cerdic the Blodletere (George Tyler) OCK (08/14/97); AOA (01/14/95)
- Dalkrvor the Intimid (Dok Murphy) APF (06/25/00); AOA (12/06/97)
- Garth of the Crags [Craig White] OC (02/09/02); ODH (02/10/01); OGM (02/10/01); ODT (03/18/00); ORC (06/15/97); APF (06/15/97); OW (09/16/95); AOA (01/30/88)
- Logan MacCoinnich [John MacKenzie] KSCA (03/24/01); ORC (08/16/96); ODT (08/14/97); APF (02/10/01); APF (02/15/97); AOA (03/27/93)
Often, it's a good idea to drop titles when making an alphabetical list, so it can be easily sorted.
Another option for organizing a LoP is to list the awards by precedence, with the recipients listed underneath each award title. The benefit to using an award listing system, is that you could provide a brief explanation of what each award is given for, and a picture of its badge. It provides a quick way to see if a person has received a certain award of which you think they are worthy.
Under each award listing, you could list the recipients either alphabetically or in order of the date they received the award. This sort of listing would look like this:
The Order of the Purple Fret is given to individuals for service to their group, office or kingdom.
1. 1997/02/05: Sir Logan MacCoinnich
2. 1997/06/15: Sir Garth of the Crags
3. 1998/06/20: Lord Cathal MacDoyl
4. 2000/02/09: Lady Caitlyn of Green Castle
5. 2000/06/25: Lord Dalkrvor the Intimid
In this example, I listed the date with the year first, followed by the month and then the day. This allows easier sorting by date. The titles allude to other honors these individuals may have received.
I'm sure there are many other ways of listing precedence information. Whatever method of listing precedence you choose, make sure to be consistent.
**WHAT ELSE TO LIST**
The basic precedence list usually consists of the person's SCA name, awards s/he received and the date of the award. I like to include additional information that more clearly describes the person and their SCA activities. Here are some ideas:
- why the person received the award (ie, for doing the feast dishes at ten consecutive events; for engaging in and teaching rapier combat; for cooking feast at Crown Tourney; etc)
- baronial-level awards (I usually put the barony's name in brackets to differentiate it from kingdom-level awards)
- former names in the SCA (ie, Formerly Dokkalvar of Hallgrimskirkja)
- their SCA name registration with the College of Heralds
- arms/blazon registration with the College of Heralds
- officer positions held (with the group and dates of office)
- autocrat/feastocrat volunteering (including event name, group sponsoring it, and date of event)
- any warrants they hold (ie, fencing, chirurgeon, etc)
- fealty and/or household
I got the idea to list more than mere precedence information when my father researched our family's genealogy. Sure, he found information like name, birthday and death-day, but I wanted to know more; their hobbies, their occupation, their lives. A precedence list with additional information might look like this:
Lady Caitlyn of Green Castle (Kathleen Dehring)
2000/12/09 Award of the Purple Fret, for service as Rimsholt's Chatelaine and her success at raising funds through auctions
1998/05/09 Award of Arms
Name: Caitlin of Greencastle (January 1997)
Arms: Argent, a horse rampant and a base purpure (September 1999)
Office: Chatelaine, Rimsholt (1999-2001). Librarian, Rimsholt (1997-1999)
Eventstaff: Co-Autocrat, Fall Crown Tourney, Andelcrag (2001). Autocrat, Caravan Collegium and Hafla, Rimsholt (2000). Winter Revel, Rimsholt (1999).
Fealty: Chamberlain to Sir Morgan Olander
Additional information helps a person "get to know" the person being listed, instead of a boring list of dry information. This kind of list requires more effort on your part; you might be wise to enlist the help of several assistants to help you compile it.
A word of caution: group chroniclers are not allowed to accept advertising. I have not listed business information on the annotated lists, because it could be construed as advertising. And if you provide free advertising for SCA merchants, why not for cosmetics representatives, cookie drives, kitchenware dealers, etc.
**WHO TO LIST**
A precedence list recognizes the accomplishments of those who contributed to your SCA group. In that vein, I usually include everyone who ever resided in the group. I often use symbols to denote whether the person has:
a) moved out of the area
b) stopped participating with the SCA
c) is deceased
Other than that, I list everyone, even if they haven't received an SCA award yet. You can use your own judgement regarding whom to include in a precedence list.
You have to face the fact that, the moment your directory is committed to print, it's out of date. People are constantly changing addresses, changing their SCA name, joining or leaving the SCA - you have to face the reality that you can not print a 100% accurate directory from the start for any group with more than 50 people.
Most people will immediately open the directory and turn to their name. One out of every ten times, you will hear the harrowing words, "Hey, this information isn't correct!" If you gathered the information from each person, you can console yourself with the explanation that they didn't tell you about the changes so you aren't accountable.
A more balanced approach is - of course there are inaccuracies! That's going to happen. But the larger percentage of the information in your directory is correct, and that's what matters. You shouldn't lose any sleep over minor errors. And do not be pressured into printing a new version to accommodate one person's problem (yes, you'd be surprised how many people will actually ask you to do this).
Some may consider articles in a group directory to be superfluous. I disagree. The directory is an opportunity to provide useful information that increases the directory's value as a reference book. Articles should reflect this timelessness. Article suggestions include:
- a map of your groups' borders, perhaps set in context with neighboring groups or your SCA region; could be accompanied by the formal boundary descriptions for your group as obtained from the regional cartographer
- a description of kingdom awards, including their significance, badge or other honors (ie, may style yourself as a warder)
- a description of group awards with similar information as the kingdom awards (if your group is a barony or shire that has group awards)
- interviews with local peers, such as knights, pelicans or laurels, or an introduction to your baron and/or baroness
- articles about the history of your group's formation
Whatever articles you decide to include, make sure the information they will provide will be useful until your next update. Of course, there's no planning for the addition of kingdom-level awards - but an article about kingdom-level awards would be mostly valid for the duration until the next edition.
Good publishing skills should not be abandoned just because you're formatting a directory. Break up the monotony of text with graphics, where appropriate.
If you need a theme, why not use the alphabet for an alphabetically-sorted list? I even wrote a poem one year, with a stanza about the SCA for each letter. If you have an artist in your group, s/he could make an illustrated letter for each section.
Something I always wanted to include in an annotated precedence listing (but never had the time to compile) was black-and-white drawings of each persons' registered blazon.
**IS IT WORTH IT?**
I think publishing a directory is worth doing if it will benefit your group. You need to assess the value of compiling, updating and keeping information relative to how it is used in your group. When I made my first directory, it was for a large barony with about six cantons. We sold copies for about $3 each, which covered the cost of printing.
Since it was very helpful for such a large area, I continued to update it every year, for three years. In the beginning, it was very well received, and I sold about 100 copies. By its third edition, it was larger and cost $5 each. Only 25 people (out of >400) purchased a copy. Folks started asking me when the information would be available on-line (I had just started e-mailing the baronial newsletter to save on mailing and printing costs).
Was all that effort really worth it to help 25 people look up names and precedence information? Maybe. Or maybe it was time to start updating the directory every other year.
Don't be discouraged when you first publish a directory if people don't respond as enthusiastically as you'd expect. You will have to educate them regarding what is contained in the directory, and how useful it can be.
I recommend giving a free copy to your group's seneschal, or the seneschal of each canton, if you're the baronial chronicler. A directory is considered an SCA publication, so send copies to all the usual people (ie, regional chronicler, kingdom chronicler, archivist, etc). Also, it's a good idea to send a copy to Their Majesties and Their Highnesses.
Generally speaking, a directory is an amazingly useful document. I think it's worth the effort to compile and accurate and complete one for your SCA group.
**ABOUT THE AUTHOR**
Lord Dalkrvor the Intimid began participating in SCA events in 1988. Her first SCA newsletter was for the Shire of Talanvale (Jackson, MI) from July-September 1996 called "The Quill and the Claw." When job changes forced her to relocate, she took up the mantle of Chronicler for the Canton of Dun Traigh (western coast of Michigan). She published "The Voice of Dune" from January 1997-May 1998. Again, relocating due to job changes, Dok began to serve the Barony of Andelcrag in April 1999. Lord Dalkrvor publishes "The SCAndelcrag" to this day. Her newsletter for the Barony of Andelcrag, "The SCAndelcrag," won Best Overall Newsletter in the William Blackfox Awards A.S. XXXVI. She also earned her an Award of Arms (1997) and an Award of the Purple Fret (2000) in recognition of her service as a Chronicler. Lord Dalkrvor recently accepted the challenge and honor of serving as the Pentamere Regional Chronicler, publishing "The Gauntlet."
Dok Tael Murphy has publishing experience earned through independent study. She has no formal training. Dok began formatting college literary magazines at Western Michigan University as an undergraduate student. She was an opinion columnist for the college newspaper from 1985-1993. Dok founded a publishing company in 1993 to print her first and only book, "Haven: A Treatise on Asylum Lake." Dok trained professionally as an environmental scientist. Her work experience includes manufacturing facility safety manager, landfill manager, industrial hygienist, environmental consultant and volunteer HAZMAT team member. She is currently the Environmental Health & Safety Manager for Viking Worldwide Fire Protection Group, responsible for safety, security and regulatory compliance.
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Copyright 2002 by Dok Tael Murphy, 280 Powell Road, Hastings, MI 49058; Dok at cablespeed.com. Permission granted for republication in SCA-related publications, provided author is credited and receives a copy.
FORMATTING NOTES: Please DO NOT publish this paragraph if you are printing this article in your newsletter. For newsletter publication, I suggest that putting the text between *asterisks* in a different font, and the text between two sets of **asterisks** in a the same different font plus underlined. This should help identify the sections of the article. I recommend a sans-serif font, like Arial or Century Gothic. And please remove the asterisks after you have changed the font. In the dashed (-) lists, please indent the items with two dashes (--) in one more step so they are clearly a subset of the dashed (-) item above it. Also, consider putting the mock directory entries in another font so they stand out clearly (like Arial Narrow). These are merely suggestions, but I appreciate your attention to these small details.
If this article is reprinted in a publication, I would appreciate a notice in the publication that you found this article in the Florilegium. I would also appreciate an email to myself, so that I can track which articles are being reprinted. Thanks. -Stefan.