OA Blue Book II and International Scouting Collectors Association

Scouting Hot Finds has covered the Blue Book 2.0 effort over the last few years.  Specifically I have published two episodes of Scouting Hot Finds Radio on the topic which were both sessions done by Roy More on the topic at the Dallas TOR.  You can find links to these here:

SHF Radio: Order of the Arrow Blue Book 2.0 With Roy More

Scouting Hot Finds Radio: Order of the Arrow Blue Book 2.0

Below is a new article from Craig Leighty that will be appearing in the upcoming issue of the ISCA Journal.  Craig felt this information was important enough that he asked me to share it with my Hot Finds community. Some of these leadership positions may change after this is published.  You can always visit Scouttrader.org to see the latest information.

Momentum is building for the next generation of the “Standard OA Insignia (and Memorabilia) Catalog”, also referred to as “Blue Book 2.0”.  It is now administered by the hobby for the hobby.  It is also user driven, supported, and editor approved with an appeal process when needed.  This short article will attempt to bring you up to date on where this project presently is and how you can get involved.

Note: as a reminder, this effort is the result of a partnership between TSPA (The Scout Patch Auction) who previously owned the rights to “Blue Book” and ISCA representing the hobby.  The LVISM (Las Vegas International Scouting Museum) also as a prior owner and the original owners of the Blue Book have also been very supportive, providing expert guidance and lessons learned from prior efforts.  Just to be clear, going forward, all new information including all changes and updates is now also owned by ISCA, and that means that it is really now “owned by the hobby”.  Any and all efforts expended by volunteers is now for the benefit of the hobby and the individual alike.

We definitely are gaining energy as we add more structure to the process and establish procedures through the use of committees within the ISCA structure to update the catalogs administrative pages, to include revising/changing definitions and practices and resolving conflicts around issues for each lodge.  All of the processes, procedures and standards will be listed on the ISCA website (www.ScoutTrader.org) as they are developed and the official data repository for lodge issues will be on the TSPA website (www.oabluebook.com).

At the recent ISCA National Convention/Trade-o-ree in Dallas a lot of hobbyists from across the country pledged to get involved and contribute to the process.  We have also established a strong leadership team as reflected in the organization structure that is in this article.

While building on past cataloging work of the past five decades we will eventually be revisiting all aspects, but that doesn’t mean they will necessarily be changed.  We will start with some of the easier things to test our processes and procedures and then probably later this year will move on to some of the harder issues.  All of the processes and procedures will be posted on the ISCA website for all to see.  We’re creating an open system with a structured appeal process if needed, but it is thought that most issues will be resolved within the editors’ structure.  It is the intent to fully involve the hobby in the decisions that will be made and then post changes using the existing rules/guidelines as a starting point.

We are also expecting that eventually the listings will be more inclusive of all OA lodge memorabilia, i.e.: pins, belt buckles, neckerchief slides, cups, hats, etc., etc. In the future (and for this expansion, it may be awhile), new rules will need to be developed and of course, input from the hobby.  What we do here may end being a model for other Scout collectible areas going forward.

Three committees have been formed as follows: Standards, Appeals, and Editors.  All three committees already have a number of people assigned, but we need lots more editors as one would imagine.  We are presently soliciting for volunteers to be lodge and area editors for standardizing and validating issues for all lodges that have ever issued any kind of insignia. As already mentioned, this is an “open system” which means that anyone and everyone can post images onto the data-site on the web and make comments such as historical information, how many were made and to which issue they think it should be, etc.  We encourage all collectors of OA insignia to start doing that now for the lodges that they are familiar with.  Just visit the website (OABlueBook.com) to start entering your items including images if you have them and/or provide comments about items that are already there.

Note: As was previously mentioned, the OABlueBook.com website will be the official repository, but for those of you that use the OAImages website, we will work with John Pannell such that John’s website can continue to be a resource for the hobby as well.

Following is some information about each of the committees:

Standards Committee (Tracy Mesler):  A committee of eight individuals, each with several decades of cataloging experience, have agreed to serve on the committee.  The committee has identified a number of ‘issues’ that need to be addressed, dissected and then decisions made (i.e.: how to handle lodges that elect to not choose a lodge number), but before the priorities are established, the Standards Committee wants to hear from collectors.  As we start to review, tweak, revise, and hopefully clarify the cataloging standards originally developed by the Blue Book, we want to have full involvement.  We are in the process of setting up a Standards blog page accessible from the ISCA website, with various topics for discussion. A set time period for comment will be listed, typically 30 days for major topics, possibly shorter for minor topics. After comments are received, then the Standards Committee will review the comments and suggestions and then will revise and/or create a standard — actually a series of standards — which will be used by the lodge and section editors in their cataloging and approval.  The current standards and the procedure used to change the standards are listed on the ISCA website.  If you have any comments for the standards committee or want to suggest topics now, just send an email to Tracy Mesler (tracymesler@yahoo.com).

Editors Committee (Ron Aldridge):  The Editors Committee consists of a National Editor Coordinator, four Regional Editors, an undetermined number of Area Editors and of course lots of lodge Editors.  In particular, we need people to volunteer to be Area and lodge Editors for both current and past lodges – every lodge needs to be covered in some manner.  Interested individuals (do not have to be a member of ISCA) need to contact their Regional Editor and/or National Editor Coordinator, Ron Aldridge (noacman@aol.com).  See the organization chart for additional emails.  We’ll soon have a master list on the ISCA website showing the list of Area Editors and lodge editors . . . and which lodges still need a volunteer.

Appeals Committee (Dave Thomas):  Five individuals with years of OA and cataloging experience have agreed to sit on the Appeals Committee.   It is in the process of developing its procedures for handling cataloging disagreements that aren’t resolved within either the Standards or Editors Committees. This gives an open, expert review process that did not exist in prior OA cataloging efforts.  We still need to generate the procedures yet, but present thoughts are that once an item has been entered into the on-line database and has been approved by a local Editor, that then everyone will have six months to file a written dispute if they disagree with the decision.  If unresolved by the Editors Committee (involving the local Editor, Area Editor, Regional Editor, and the National Editor), then it will be referred to the Appeals Committee.  The person filing the dispute will need to present real documentary evidence (minimum criteria will be defined) to support the position about an item and the Appeals Committee will arbitrate the matter similar to general arbitration with documents, lodge histories, etc.  This will be the ongoing process for new items added.  We will develop a special procedure and timing to address items that are currently listed in previous Blue Book volumes.

If you would like to participate in this effort in any way, please send an email to the appropriate Committee Chair above.  If you have any questions, check the ISCA website first and if you still have a question, then feel free to contact the overall coordinator, Craig Leighty at craig.leighty@gmail.com.



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