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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Build a Better GEDCOM wiki

Several bloggers put up posts about a new website called Build a Better GEDCOM Wiki. The current goals of the site include the following:
Based upon information provided on this page and others, we will attempt to build a set of goals here for the current project of replacing/updating GEDCOM. This new standard will be referred to as BG (Better GEDCOM) in this discussion.

  1. BG should remain a file format technology capable of serving as a data archival repository
  2. BG should be XML-based using Unicode character set in UTF-8 encoding
  3. BG should require a software application to export all data to be in compliance
  4. BG should require a software application to have a robust conflict resolution facility prior to final import to be compliant
 In answer to the question of what genealogists need? The site makes some valuable observations:
What immediate needs does the genealogical community have?

  • A widely recognized standard for data interchange
  • Independent from any one organization, software program or service
  • Suitable for long-term use as a standalone archival data store
  • Ability to export ALL factual, relational, multimedia, deliberative and notational data from software applications
  • Ability to note, mitigate, and resolve conflicts, ambiguities related to data format differences during the import process and before final import
I laud the goals and the effort.  Especially their note that GEDCOM, as conceived, was a portable storage file format. This aspect of GEDCOM, i.e., that it was conceived as a standardized way to archive as well as transport/transfer data, is an important feature worth retaining.

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