The NBS convention has come and gone and the Board is back to monthly telephone conferences.
One of our main goals is to study the results of the member surveys. A general survey was sent out with the May Bulletin and a more specific one was given to convention attendees. The Publicity Committee tallied every answer and noted every comment. The next step is to analyze the information and do what we can to increase member satisfaction.
Our publicity committee members are professional survey creators and analysts, so I have great confidence in their ability to translate data.
We received a number of comments concerning the Blue Book and competition. Those who know my background know my chief interest and effort has been centered around classification, so those comments were of particular interest and concern to me. Here are a few of my thoughts.
1. Resistance to change is a normal human reaction, but change is inevitable.
2. There are two basic types of button collectors - those who want details and those who don’t care.
3. In the old days, judging consisted of looking at the trays, mentally assessing and placing them. There were no judging sheets. The prettiest tray won. The award criteria and definitions were published along with the awards list.
4. The Blue Book evolved not only as new knowledge surfaced, but also as a result of disagreements among entrants and judges. For example, moths were added to the butterflies class because judges were disqualifying trays having a moth on a tray for butterflies. There’s a long list of classes that have been added, subtracted and revised in the attempt to clarify and simplify so entrants and judges who read the Blue Book have a better chance of consistent results.
5. Interpretation is everything - but can be subjective. Trying to make the Blue Book user friendly while closing loopholes is a never ending challenge. Fashion designers simply didn’t design buttons with classification in mind. For example, when is a metal button with glass embellishment classed as glass mounted in metal? If the eye goes first to the metal design, it’s metal. If the eye goes first to the glass, it’s glass mounted in metal. If there’s doubt as to which is predominant, the button can be used in either place. One person’s doubt can be another’s certainty.
6. The Classification Chairperson receives numerous complaints and suggestions. Since every change affects everyone, she must decide whether the complainer is representing the majority, or merely one person reacting to one bad experience.
7. The Blue Book provides, in 80 pages, comprehensive information for organizing a button collection and is a valuable resource whether one enters competition or not.
Plan now to go to Portland, OR, August 4-11. Details are on the NBS website: nationalbuttonsociety.org.