When I first started with this office, I had a vision, a vision where anyone in the local group can go and look up the heraldry for anyone in the local group, read the blazon, and keep an official roll of arms. The idea was planted and now I had to make grow.
This I knew that this would be an undertaking to say the least. How would I set this up? How would it be presented? How would this look. How could I do this?
That is never easy questions to answer. First idea was to start an excel sheet of all the devices and their names attached with them. I went over the Order of Precedence, and I took down the names, and then went over to the Search Forms for the SCA Armorial. (Located at http://oanda.sca.org/) and using the Name Pattern Search Form. With that go down each name step by step, and see who has arms passed, and get everyone’s blazon.
Once the list was constructed then it was the task to construct everyone’s emblazoning everyone’s device (or make the pictorial representation of each one). This task alone was one of the longest parts in the whole thing. Taking a blank shield from the forms, and then designing every single device that is within the local group. Using pictures, of those individuals that have their arms displayed, and using that to see how each charge is layed out helped tremendously. For those that I could not see, whether it’s on their various pages, or any search online, or the forms that I have on file, then it becomes a trial by error.
Let me say on this regard that doing devices that way, is a good lesson on how the blazon and the emblazon can be interesting to work together for the final product. Seeing the background, to the charges, and any border that anyone could have, is like looking at a wedding cake coming together and each layer being a challenge, but rewarding at the same time.
Ok, so after setting that up, what next? Well that begins on the pros and cons of finding a way to set this up. First the Province has navigated to a new fancy dandy website, so I saw a great place for it. Now, what tools can I use for this? Well, the spreadsheet was not going to work; format was not compatible, word document? Well that works well, however I brained stormed another idea to go along with this, (thanks to one of our wonderful Laurels). What was that idea? Well check this out.
One day either at fighter practice, or archery practice. Mistress Honig, mentioned where I was in close ear shot. “I wish there was something on the website that if you click on something, it takes you to that person’s EK wiki page.” See how she plants that seed? Well, I took it loud and clear. So… scratch the word document, which left one option only. Set the whole thing up in HTML.
Let me say coding is not my thing, so this was a learning curve to begin with. I have all the information, now, need to upload the pics to a site, write the HTML, find everyone that has a wiki page, and link them all together. I love it when plans start coming together. With HTML not my thing, I used an editor to help start all the code together (and one of the web ministers cleaned up all that code to something much better that I can use as well.)
Now what order did I wish to display this? OP format? Or another way? Simple Alphabetical order based on given name. Why? Cause it will be easier to update in the long term.
Ok, once the names, devices, and blazon was all set, then I had to go back down the list one more time, with a search engine in the east kingdom wiki page and check every name and see who had pages created, and who has not. Once the pages were linked to each device, each name has a device, and the format is all set. Next thing to do is submit it to the web minister for approval. After some quick changes that needed to be made the approval went through. I have to say this has been a wonderful tool, for me, scribes in our group, and the group at large. Check it out for yourself:
After I got this project done, I was not finished with this alone. Combining that page and the OP I really wished for a hard copy of something like a rolls of office, to be used at any demo we may have, or at heralds point, or to have handy if lack of internet connection made it difficult to retrieve what someone’s device look like, or what awards and honors an individual may receive.
Ok well both of these have already researched for the previous website, so all I need is to add blank shields for those that did not have approved arms, and add those that whose current names may not have gone through the College of Heralds.
Using the OP as a reference point I started off with the name first, then a spot for the heraldry, and at first set up on the proceeding page the list of all their awards. Easy Peasy right? Well in some aspects yes, for the information is right there, just need to line it up, and in this case how do I format this? Well in this case OP format seemed to me to be the more logical part at this point. Sweet, got it all prepped and printed and presented a rough draft to the local group, who ate it up.
Now we took the information from them as far a better way to make this look better. Step one change the font to look more period. Step two, instead of separate sides of pages arranges the awards and honors to the side so that it can look like rolls. This I will let you know is no easy task, for those in the High Merit section, or even just the AOA portion of the OP not much room is needed, those on the higher section, that have gone above and beyond so many times, getting all their honors on one page proved to be a daunting task without it being squashed.
Trial and error and patience was key in getting this developed (pictures to come within an update)
Always in most wonderful Service
Conall an Doire