Nov. 28th, 2009

ursula: (bear)
In the Society for Creative Anachronism, one can register medieval names and heraldic devices with the College of Heralds. Here's what the Governing Documents of the Society say about the rules the registration process should follow:

Standards of difference and other rules: Laurel shall define standards suitable to the
type of item to be registered, and apply them uniformly to all such submissions. These standards shall be
designed to support the historical re-creations of the Society and to provide sufficient difference from names
and armory registered within the Society to avoid undue confusion, to avoid the appearance of unearned
honors or false claims, and to provide sufficient difference from historical or fictional personages to prevent
offense due to obvious usurpation of identity or armory. Members are encouraged to develop unique,
historically valid names and armory.

Under the current rules and policies, anyone who wishes to participate in the registration process must submit a unique name. (Some historically invalid names are still registrable, but "insufficiently unique" names are not.) The name is required even if one only wishes to register a heraldic device. Registering a name costs about $10 (the exact amount varies from kingdom to kingdom) and takes about nine months. Registering a device is another $10 or so.

One of the reasons that the SCA is attached to the unique name system is that the current registration system depends on paper files organized by this unique registered name. (There are other reasons, of course; a discussion of some of them can be found at the Campaign to End Name Uniqueness, and a more complete view may be obtained by joining the SCAHRLDS mailing list and browsing the archives.) This post proposes a partially computerized filing system. I want to describe why such a system is technically feasible and would allow for greater flexibility, including re-evaluating the "registered SCA name" and "unique SCA name" requirements, if we wish to do so.

gory details )

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