Some people eat, sleep and chew gum, I do genealogy and write...

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Updating GEDCOM -- Three different groups working?

Since the RootsTech Conference in Salt Lake City recently, at least three separate groups have surfaced that appear to be working on a new GEDCOM standard. It also appears that they are each approaching the issue from an entirely different perspective. From the online sources, it is difficult to determine if the different groups/organizations were completely aware of each other's efforts. Here is the present lineup:

This is a formally organized effort based on a site in WikiSpaces. It has been operating for some time and I have reported on some of the issues involved in previous posts. Quoting from a statement on the site:
BetterGEDCOM is an independent user community formed to develop internationally recognized genealogical technology standards for the benefit of the entire genealogy community. BetterGEDCOM has no affiliation with any commercial entity or any other particular genealogical organization but welcomes the participation of all interested parties.

BetterGEDCOM is a place to discuss and work out how to solve technological problems in genealogy and how software programs and services can best interoperate. We are concerned with genealogical technology issues broadly, but initially we will develop a GEDCOM update/replacement.
From different postings on the Internet and in the FamilySearch Research Wiki, it appears that FamilySearch has definitely begun its own effort to establish a new data transfer standard, whether or not this could be viewed as an extension of GEDCOM or a replacement remains to be seen. Here are some of the links that give an insight into the discussions going on:  This is a report of an open discussion session at the RootsTech Conference. Quoting from Jordan Jones of
It was at about this time that Tom Creighton, the CTO of FamilySearch, got up and announced that FamilySearch is nearly ready to announce a new pro­posed data model. This changed the meet­ing imme­di­ately. Instead of an open dis­cus­sion, it became more like a press con­fer­ence, with Tom field­ing ques­tions about what they have done, when the work will be shared, and so on. There was not a lot that he was able to divulge at this point.
 This statement is consistent with the mention made by Craig Miller in the Devotional Meeting at RootsTech that FamilySearch was working on updating GEDCOM. However, in answer to another question about the future of Personal Ancestral File, I remember the comment being made about the fact that FamilySearch was moving towards a "browser" based system. I would guess that rather than try to establish a new GEDCOM model they may be working on developing a more robust and universal API model.

Here are some links to some more discussion:

This is from Notes from an open discussion moderated by the Ancestry Insider, held at the RootsTech 2011 Conference.

Just a reminder from me, you might as well get used to looking at the FamilySearch Research Wiki, it is starting to vacuum up everything about genealogy.

You may also note that there is a new Wiki on Wikispaces called RootsTech. You may wish to check this out or participate.
Quoting from their website:
In response to this sea change, the International OpenGen Alliance was formed to bring together the most agile and active minds in the industry in service of creating a universal standard through which the full conversation of family histories could be shared and preserved.

The success of the world's genealogical societies and websites has illuminated the importance of a single standard. The public is now fully engaged in the discourse of family history. The time is now to measure the means through which this rich data discourse finds its place in each family history.
OpenGen has been at the task for some time and apparently is well into developing a sharing model.

Interesting developments. More as I find more.

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