(This article originally appeared in the TAU-USA Winter Issue #108)
The National Database for the Secular Franciscan Order of the USA is expected to roll out in May 2023.
At the recent National Chapter in October, members of the OFS-USA Database Committee provided a demo of the new database and projected the database would be introduced in the spring.
Two years ago, it was decided by the NEC to initiate a project to replace the existing National Database, which was implemented in older technology and is diﬃcult to maintain and support. The new database is being developed by a team of OFS members guided by a Steering Committee of NEC members.
The National Database contains information about all our members and our fraternities at all levels, as well as other organizations and individuals involved with our Order, such as the Provinces to which our fraternities are bonded, and the Friars and Sisters serving as our Spiritual Assistants.
The software for the new database was selected in June of 2022. Since then, the team has completed the database design, security model, most of the data conversion processes, and most of the user interface.
In late November, the team determined that the Annual Regional Reporting process in the current system would not be able to be updated to accommodate the 2022 reporting cycle (due in early 2023). The committee began building a prototype and is about 80% complete with the database, form and reporting. This was unanticipated, so the estimate for completing the database is extended to May 2023.
The new database will provide all the capability of the existing database, plus several signiﬁcant enhancements. Aside from being easier to maintain and change, the new database will provide:
- Online Help Desk for submitting requests, questions and issues
- Enhanced data extract capability (PDF/Excel downloads)
- Enhanced ad hoc and standard reporting (print-friendly rosters, directories )
- Full history capture on key data tables (Organization, Person, Position Assignments)
- Flexible permissions structure allowing read or write access to multiple fraternities and/or regions
- Dual membership for members of newly forming groups and emerging fraternities(the sponsoring fraternity and the new group) without double-counting members
- Separate membership status and profession status to simplify searches
- Enhanced member search (global search, and search within a fraternity)
- Implementation of National guidelines for required data based on member status
- Capture of multiple languages/proficiencies, and interests for a member
- Multiple addresses for “snow birds”
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DATABASE DESIGN/DEVELOPMENT TEAM:
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