Sunday, April 15, 2012

SCA Documentation, my thoughts


Among other things that I do, I have spent a great deal of my life in the SCA.  I hang around with other like minded folk and make things.  It's been wonderful.

Yesterday, I judged a Kingdom level Arts and Sciences competition.  I came away determined to share my thoughts on how to document a project.

My thoughts follow:


Greetings,

I believe Documentation in the SCA is your time to tell the judge and all other people interested what you did to create your project.  It should be a time to let everybody know the amazing things you learned and did to create it.

This being said, I'd like to suggest a structure for documentation.  I judged a lot of entries at Kingdom A&S and there was much confusion about how to document a project.  I've come up with what I feel is a simple, clear structure that prompts the artist to truly document their processes.

This is what I look for:

There are up to 5 parts.  Flesh them out as you see fit as appropriate for the level of the event.

(Note: At Kingdom A&S I believe that the documentation for the project should comprise about 50 to 75% of the time spent.  (If your project takes about 20 hours to make you should have spent 20 - 40 hours working on your documentation (research, verification, writing, creating appendices, editing for content/readability/structure/etc.,technical-editing,copy-editing (grammar/spelling/tense/etc.), making copies, binding copies, figuring out how you will present your project with props, table settings, labels, etc.))

Part One:
Scope of the Project - Title and a clear statement of your project.  Can include why, inspiration, explanation. If possible, include a thesis statement which sums up your project in one sentence.  1 paragraph.

Part Two:
How was your item created in period?  Extract and explain all the aspects of your project. (1 – 3 pages)

Part Three:

What you did.  Discuss the compromises, fudges, things completely correct, etc.  Here is where you include all that you did to create your project.  Make sure to discuss any thing that would increase the complexity: took picture yourself of item, grew herb, created the tool, etc. (1 – 3 pages)

Part 4:

What I will do next time.  This worked, this didn’t.  Other explorations and what you hope to do better. (1 – 3 paragraphs)

Part 5:

Appendix/Appendices:  Here is where you put the details of what you did.  Each aspect of your piece should be documented with an appendix.  Color, tone, tools, process, journals, etc.  Here is where you teach someone to do what you did.  Can be a zillion pages/full of pictures, etc.


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