In the mid-1200s, gentleman hunters in France developed a specialized vocabulary to describe groups of animals both mundane and exotic. These words, called “terms of venery” or “nouans of assembly,” live on today in a “murder of crows,” a “brood of hens,” and a “shiver of sharks.”
In a recent article, media company Quartz explored these phrases, noting that they were most likely devised as ways to show off snazzy vocabulary rather than as serious attempts to categorize. However, the name game proved to be popular. In time, nouns of assembly moved beyond animals and were applied to inanimate objects and people. They also became more exaggerated. Quartz makes special note of a “diligence of messengers,” a “blast of hunters,” a “subtlety of sergeants,” an “execution of officers,” and a “superfluity of nuns.”
But not all of the terms are frivolous. Quartz notes that a “flight of stairs” is such common parlance that we rarely question the term. As a means to ascend to a higher level, climbing a flight of stairs makes sense. “And, of course, the platform at the top of the stairs or between two sets of stairs is often called a landing—because that’s what you do after taking a flight,” according to the article.
Playful or not, new categories can be helpful in organizing a fresh venture. For example, in this month’s cover story, “Starting from Scratch,” Don Taussig, CPP, found that building a security program for Land O’Lakes from the ground up required naming several types of groups. Taussig gathered lists of internal business partners, including HR, legal, real estate, and facilities. He compiled groups of duties and assembled a variety of guiding principles to lead his new department.
New endeavors are also underway at Security Management as ASIS International adds two staff members to the masthead, Managing Editor Claire Meyer and Assistant Editor Sara Mosqueda. Meyer—who comes to ASIS from Security magazine—brings a deep knowledge of the security industry, as well as strong writing, editing, and project management skills. Mosqueda, formerly with S&P Global Market Intelligence, contributes her comfort with technical material and her copyediting and writing skills to help us move forward as we expand our content efforts.
Changes are afoot for existing Security Management staffers as well. Mark Tarallo takes on a larger role in managing projects in support of our content strategy. Megan Gates is the editor-in-chief of our new supplement, Security Technology. Flora Szatkowski will lend her considerable talents to our renewed book publishing efforts.
As Taussig notes of his new program, “When scarce resources are allocated, security has a seat at the table alongside other business functions. This type of feedback demonstrates that the function is adding value to the company.”
Whether applied to a security program or a publishing group, the concept of adding value through strategy and business development deserves its own set of terms: an “excellence of influencers,” a “whirlwind of changemakers,” or perhaps an “influx of innovators.”