Old West Downs Society

The OWD Society Register of Members

The Register is held on computer in two sections, the pupils and the staff. All other sections of the printed register are derived from these two sections.

The software with which it has been written was one of the first really good name and address systems, as opposed to database systems. It was first written, for another micro application, towards the end of 1979, by Nick Hodson, who took on the job of Membership Secretary during June 1980. Since then it has received further extensive development and has been used mainly for sports clubs of various sorts and sizes. It was recently (1996) used to weed out the bad addresses in a very large club’s membership lists where there were over 160,000 members.

For each person is held name, including titles and decorations, three lines of inward address, and then the outward address, which consists of the three lines Post Town, County and Postcode. Then there are a public comment field, a private comment field and a phone number field. There are then 26 attribute fields which are more of use in the sports club registers than they are in Old Boys registers. In addition there are certain packed data fields, which are: the year of entry to the school, also the years of birth, death and leaving the school; there are fields for regions and sub regions within the UK; a field for airmail zone (eg UK, Europe, Zone 1, Zone 2) and finally a most important field, which is record type, described below. Regions, sub-regions and airmail zones are all recognised from the postcode, or name of the country if overseas.

Record types can be 3, 4 and 6 (which indicate normal active records of various levels of priority); 7, which is “Requests no correspondence‘; 8, which is “Gone away‘; 9, which is “Deceased‘; 2, which is “Gone away but no correspondence if found‘; 1, which is “Record out of use‘; and finally 5, which is “Comment‘. The latter type is used where a person has been known by two or more names. The live record is of course the name by which he/she is now known.

The data is held in a very condensed form, because there are not fixed length records, which is the major handicap of most name and address systems. All program code is in the computer programming language “C”, and is kept simple and well documented, making amendments and upgrades very easy.

All sorts of reports can be derived and there are many functions that can be easily carried out. This is not really the place to give them in detail.

The printed register contains a list of names and addresses, and is followed by an analysis by region and an analysis by year of entry.

The analysis by region and by year of entry is not relevant to staff, so is given for the pupils only.

Nowadays the information held on computer is updated each time new information comes in. It is possible to obtain from the secretary a key which will enable you to see the full set of information.

Membership Secretary