It all depends on what YOU mean when you say multi-platform. Access is
available for Macs, and should run on Linux machines running X-Windows or
Lindows, but I don't see why you need all this compatibility.
Access will accept data from Excel or text files, and produce Excel and
text file output for almost anything you need, and ScoutNet will provide data
dumps in Excel, once you tell your council folks what you want. TSA software,
TroopMaster/PackMaster will provide export data in text files as well.
What this means is that you can ask your council registrar or data wonk
to give you a listing of all the district folks you want to track, including
their addresses, positions, and training codes, AS SHE HAS THEM. This will give
you a flat file - everything in one line of data - to import into Access and
massage into a nice properly behaved relational database - nothing repeated
twice - with which you can track your training.
When you need to export data for other folks to use, tell Access to
export it in Excel or text files; either can be e-mailed or printed out for
This will work, as I have been doing a Merit Badge Counselor list in
Access for several years. What I had to learn/remember was that folks don't
NEED nicely formatted reports that take packages of paper to print and a truck
to move, all they need is their particular data which can be sent as a .txt or
Excel file over e-mail. Once my people learned that they could get information
within a day or so by e-mail, rather than arranging to meet me at a mid-point in
our district or at Round Table a week or so later, they were glad to take this
information over the Internet.
There are a few problems, some minor some not so small. The registrar
probably does NOT have all the data you need, which means that you'll have to
poll the folks involved to find out when they did to a particular bit of
training, and which version, if this is important to you. This can be a major
or minor problem depending on how compete your council's information are. The
second problem is of a different and more important nature - privacy - the
information you are collecting and distributing contains material that the
scouters may not wish to share indiscriminately with others, e-mail addresses
for one, or SSNs, which I prune immediately. You will want to develop some
Privacy Statement to append to the bottom of each of your reports, indicating
that much of the information in the file/report is private and should not be
disseminated indiscriminately. My warning reads like this, "This list contains
information covered under the Privacy Act. Release of data on this list is
prohibited without permission of person involved."
E-Mail me if you have any more questions.
Ida Lively wrote:
> While at the conference it was pointed out that we need a DISTRICT tracking
> similar to ScoutNet 2000, or Pack/TroopMaster.
> My predecessor (Thanks, Lance!) has created a database using MS Access;
> however, MS Access is not cross-platform (as far as I can tell). I'm
> contemplating having the creation of a cross-platform DISTRICT level
> tracking program as one of my ticket items when I attend Wood Badge in June.
To reply, click on the mailto: address below.
Dave Loomis mailto:dloomis.nh.ultranet@...
245 Union St. (603) 431 5342
Portsmouth, NH 03801-3225
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