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BEHIND THE SCENES


THE DIGITAL ARCHIVE


In our next issue (March-April), Scouting magazine will celebrate its 100th year of serving the adult volunteer leaders in the Boy Scouts of America. That’s 100 consecutive years of giving Scouters timely information that helps them Lead and Inspire their Scouts, as well as Explore all of the fun and adventure that Scouting offers. With that very special issue, the magazine will also take a big leap into the future that will make it even more relevant and acces- sible to our readers. In 2012, in collaboration with the National Scouting Museum and the University of North Texas, we began digitizing all existing issues of the magazine dating back to 1913. You’ll see the results of this work by the talented folks at UNT’s


North Texas Digital Projects Unit this spring, both on our Web site, scoutingmagazine.org, and at the university’s Portal to Texas History (texashistory.unt.edu). Here, you can find more specific and more personal information just by searching for a Scouter’s name, a troop’s number, or another key word—all of the issues will be fully indexed for easy-search results. Corry Kanzenberg, BSA museum curator, says that many of the issues from Scouting’s earliest years remain in remarkably good


IN DEPTH Fresh Takes


Do you ever think that a merit badge pam- phlet seems dated? Wince no more. Scouting’s Merit Badge Maintenance Task Force has made significant progress reviewing and recommending changes to the library of more than 130 merit badge pamphlets. A bit of background: The BSA asked Frank Ramirez, the task force’s


staff adviser, to organize a team of volunteers to update the library. To chair the group, which includes Steve Bowen, Ramirez chose Scott Berger, an associate director of the CBS Evening News whom Ramirez calls “one of the most dedicated Scouting volunteers I’ve met in my 27 years in this profession.” The group’s first job was to recommend the best revision fre-


quency for each merit badge. Obviously, some badges, by their nature, age faster than others. Carlos Martinez, a member of the task force’s leadership team, joked that Basketry might need review every 10 years, while Computers might need freshening every month. Then, members began reaching out to qualified reviewers for


each badge. Martinez, an attorney in New Mexico, tabbed a federal judge to review Citizenship in the Nation, while Berger drew on United Nations staffers for Citizenship in the World and asked Broadway pro- fessionals to review the Theater pamphlet. Ramirez says that reviewers focus on eliminating errors, minimizing


Amy Braid, a UNT library science graduate, scans Scouting.


condition, which made the scanning process easier. And J.D. Owen, Scouting’s editor in chief, notes that the database will appeal to anyone interested in nostalgia or family or organizational history. “The rich history of the BSA can be mined from the pages of these magazines, and we expect considerable interest from our vol- unteers when the pages are available,” he says. “A wealth of shared wisdom, program ideas, and modeled events—a digital storehouse of the Scouting experience—makes this a compelling new feature.”


SIDEBAR: BY THE NUMBERS  Number of Scouting issues to scan: more than 900


Number of pages: about 16,000-18,000 (the magazine’s size fluctuated frequently throughout the decades) File size per page: 50 MB. All pages are scanned in color.  Estimated hours to scan all of Scouting: around 400


10 SCOUTING ¿  


repetition and contradiction, ensuring better readability, and enhanc- ing visuals. Reviewers have recommended numerous large and small changes, from correcting knots shown in photos to adding Internet resources in Reading and replacing the outdated food pyramid in the Sports pamphlet with the USDA’s new MyPlate nutrition tracker. By the end of 2012, the task force had completed review of about 90 percent of the badges.


CORRECTION Ben Henneberger, the Crew 97 Venturer who became the first Eagle Scout to receive his award underwater, was misiden- tified in our last issue. Ben is seen here with his proud dad, Doug. We regret the error.


W. GARTH DOWLING


COURTESY OF DOUG HENNEBERGER


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