Document ALL the merit badges!
October 14, 2017 3:03 PM   Subscribe

What's a good online database platform, ideally free? The goal is to document and cross-reference hundreds of items, specifically merit badges, as a follow-up to divabat's "Earn ALL the merit badges" question. The idea is to document individual badges, categorize them by type, organization, country, and other details that would be helpful for sorting and finding the badge(s) of interest. Given the sheer number of badges that could be documented, a blog platform doesn't seem robust enough, but I'm not sure if a wiki platform would be a good fit. Thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks!

This question is asked in coordination with divabat.
posted by filthy light thief to Computers & Internet (12 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
posted by adamrice at 3:39 PM on October 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

Is there a way to have a good forward-facing display of Airtable content? I've used Airtable before but haven't found a way to make the contents in said Airtable easily accessible to readers.
posted by divabat at 4:48 PM on October 14, 2017

This will sound odd at first, but please take a look at how this Wordpress Theme (!!!) works. It's very different, but adding photos and additional content is very simple. It is a notes/document/item process manager. It's called PrimusNote. A very ingenious way to use Wordpress.
posted by Gerard Sorme at 6:54 PM on October 14, 2017 [2 favorites]

As I just mentioned in your other question I've been looking into a similar thing. I lack the programming skills to make my own web application and had also been looking at ways of making this in WordPress. (Which as long as you have good security and backup in place seems robust enough.) The most promising candidate I found was :
With Pods, you can create all of the Custom Content Types and Custom Fields that you need from within the WordPress Admin Screens. [...] Easily setup single/multiple-select and even bi-directional relationships in practically any configuration you can think up.
I had been hoping to combine it with something like WP User Frontend so my pupils can log their practice and work towards earning their badges, but it's beyond me so far. However if you "just" wanted to document all the badges I could see it working.
posted by yoHighness at 5:40 AM on October 15, 2017

I'm not sure that it meets all your requirements but LiveSchool is a tracking up for teachers keeping track of students' behaviour. I use it at my children's library to track the children's reading. It's free for one person (teacher/leader) to use and I believe you have unlimited spots for children and merits. You can call a category "Scouts Badges" and then include all the badges as achievable, for example. There's a fairly robust history and patterns-type measurement tool set for each child or merit. I'm not sure how many qualities you can attribute to one badge though (may not be able to categorize by country AND type AND organisation, for example). You may be able to do it with clever/complicated category naming though.
posted by eisforcool at 9:15 AM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I can't speak for divabat, but personally, I'm not thinking of this being a site/service to allow people to track the merit badges they have earned, but rather just document the possible merit badges, past and present, across organizations and from different sources (even the humorous badges that you just buy and aren't actually earn-able), so progress tracking is not a feature I'm too interested in.

In other words, the function would be to look up all the badges related to knot-tying, or finances, or community services, to be used as they see fit.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:50 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

filthy light thief is right: we're not looking for ways for people to track their badges (especially since there are hundreds of them, many of which overlap) but just to document them.

I messaged this to you, but Tumblr may be a possible blog-based system since it's tag-based, but their tag system is a little arcane sometimes and you don't easily have a Wikipedia-like list of "everything tagged X". (You click on a tag and you get all the entries, but not in a list-type format.)
posted by divabat at 5:54 PM on October 15, 2017

Ah ok. It's not very glamorous but I'd use excel for that (or Google sheets if it needed to be shared/online as you specify). I'd have each identifying criteria as a column (including achieved/not yet achieved) then use the sort function pretty heavily, and possibly the search feature. It's not very fancy though.
posted by eisforcool at 5:32 AM on October 16, 2017

On reading divabat's response it sounds like an online book/media cataloging service might be a good fit? I use libib. It's free if you're not loaning items, just cataloging them. You can save each badge as a "book" and include a picture, author, summary etc (obviously customize this to your badge collecting hobby) as well as tag items and search with tags. The search function in general is robust too, so it would be easy to find all the knot badges, as an example.
posted by eisforcool at 5:40 AM on October 16, 2017

I think a wiki platform would be ideal for this in that tagging things with both their topic (knot tying) and source (Girl Scouts) would be easy. Both would be part of the larger categories of Wilderness Skills as well as Nautical Skills and Handicrafts. Wikipedia has Category Pages like Botany and also Series like Judaism. Do you have specific concerns about a wiki format or are you just unsure it will work?
posted by soelo at 8:31 AM on October 16, 2017

Response by poster: More concerns about development and maintenance, WRT who can modify what. Also, hosting.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:56 AM on October 16, 2017

Divabat—I'm not sure how pretty you want to make the content, but it is possible to create a view-only version of a base, to use different views (grids, galleries, calendars, etc), and to embed a view in another web page.
posted by adamrice at 3:46 PM on October 16, 2017

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