Hello everyone, I am not a technical writer so I maybe hard to follow. I emailed Greg a thought where all the problems a make a standard are coming from.
I will take a crack at wording it.
The typical way gedcom tries to create a tag for every possible event out there. This makes a everyone suffer trying to create a Rosetta stone to export xml standards to other standards.
1. Everyone is creating various "tag named events" like immigration, baptism, birth, christening, and so on. This hinders religious beliefs, culture descriptions and so on.
I ask this all the above are events, all one has to do is seen if it happened at a place, time it was an EVENT. what people wish to call that or tag that has no importance at all on xml structure.
so look at it this way, your in a computer program or an online interface. Pull down a selection bar and pick Baptism, Birth, Immigration, Divorce, Murder, Land Purchase, Hair Color, DNA string, etc...
No Matter what what ever it was was done at a time or place, we need to stop creating date and place tags INSIDE an untold limitless description of tag names.
Lets reverse that and create a list of events names that can be select which fit in the standard time and place of event.
whatever kind and type or label of an event should be on a standardized list which is selectable.
That selected tag gone in the event node as a label.
So if people ever get around to converting db's they can import export the event with a standard tag name as text in the node corrosponsing to the event and person it lnks too.
what we will have is just a pure event and "type", then everyone can let go of make all those various node names including an addition date and place node in side hundreds of various tag names no one will even want to try and translate.
a simple event date place with text "type of event" can be translanted, filtered for and matched agaisnt one parse looking for a match.
Not creating hundreds of parses to match all the various demand types of events in an xml struture.
If someone else can say it in a clean technical wording please be my guest and do so if you grasped my opion on this.
I would certainly steer away from the ISO standard body. They do not have an open process whereby anyone can join in, and they would likely not want to provide the standard freely or even at a reasonable cost. Furthermore their behavior in granting as a standard the Microsoft XML document model clearly shows they can be influenced by rich and powerful interests. I would see no issues with the IETF, but would think getting national or international genealogy groups to buy into it would be a better approach.
Referring to ISO as one entity, however, is not at all reflective of reality. In fact, ISO is an umbrella group that, while it has its own processes, largely approves standards developed by affiliate groups with wildly different processes. I give specific examples of organizations through which standardization might be advisable, and even a cursory review of these organizations and their processes shows how they essentially have no bearing on each other regarding either processes or costs.
Personally I don't know anything more about the Microsoft XML DOM than I can google, but everything I read is about Microsoft's process through W3C (The World Wide Web Consortium), which has nothing to do with ISO in any way whatsoever. In any case, each standards body has to be evaluated independently, even when they fall under the ISO umbrella.
So what is the benefit to standardization? I see four major advantages:
1. Mediation during the standardization process will formally help resolve differences ;
2. Weight of formal recognition of the standard will drive adoption;
3.Codification of a standard with a standards body ensures that there is a framework by which to resolve ambiguities, conflicts in the use of the standard; and
4. Codification of a standard through a standards body ensures future development on the standard will not die.
Having done quite a bit of work on this, I suggest looking into the individual organizations and their processes. It's really impossible to even know what such a process might entail without examining these organizations separately and in some detail.
Oh, and yes, they generally do have ways you can be involved in the process without being some big organization or even paying a fee (cf. AIIM in particular).
This is a well-documented case where the normal standards process was completely bent to serve big business at the cost of a well-defined standard.
I agree with Brian that "getting national or international genealogy groups to buy into it would be a better approach."
In fact, I've suggested to BetterGEDCOM to get a Board of Directors sooner than later. Otherwise, you'll have standard without anyone using it. Vendors will not use BG unless they are made to by the users, and even then there will be constant battle to keep them from embracing and extending it.
I do recall some big mess several years ago, but what you're referring to at that link isn't apparent. In any case, none of that involves any of the actual organizations I have proposed that people look into.
Getting buy-in, developing a standard, and obtaining formal recognition of a standard are three entirely different things. This topic refers only to the third.
Your point regarding organization is one we discuss about every day in some fashion. It's not one that makes any sense to discuss openly, however, because there is no organizational plan that is ready to implement, there are sensitive issues that affect possible options. In the meantime it remains an advantage to remain a loosely-defined community-based effort.
Regarding buy-in, without something to buy into, it's silly to talk about other organizations' formal endorsement of our nonexistent finished work. However, if was do continue to move forward and emerge from this process with a working specification, you very well may be shocked at the widespread adoption that springs out of nowhere very quickly.
Back to the topic at hand. I understand that formal standardization is the answer to everyone's problems, but the potential upside in terms of a formal structure make it an option worth considering carefully instead of rejecting it outright.
Once the standard is hashed out, it can be submitted anywhere, but I think it would be wise to have some say in how it might in the future be made available, and how it would be maintained.
Very few ISO standards are available freely, and individuals and companies might not have any say in how it gets maintained. Who wants to pay $400 just to read a specification. If I'm going to write a piece of software to support a standard, I don't want to shell out $400 when I can come up with my own format for free.
Additionally, I was pointing out care should be taken in choosing which standards body to use. The Groklaw link is the fiasco I was talking about. It was an ISO standards process. It got really ugly. A total breakdown of the process.
Back to the standardization issue. Very few standards turn out being used s written. Only recently have most webbrowsers become compliant with the HTML standard. I've worked with various software standards for decades. I've yet to see two companies imlplement them the same way. As I like to say the great thing about standards is everyone has one. It also the worst thing. Whatever we develop will be chopped and "enhanced" by the software writers.
This sounds like a fun project. I'd be happy to help build it and write some modules that could be used to build/test compliance. Since, I've been loosely working on my own version [dusts off old charts] for some time.
Well, that all makes good sense.
That being said, what do you think of AIIM? I think it's a very intriguing possibility. Frankly, other than AIIM, I'm not all that encouraged by other options at the moment.
I don't think our little standard will draw that kind of power play.
The AIIM, seems to be an older, if smaller standards body. It being born from the microfilm industry. It has a certain nostalgic appeal. THey are also pretty good at slef-advertising. Both the IIAM and ECM wikipedia articles are by IIAM power players.
Membership seems open to anyone, and the cost isn't too terribly steep. Company research isn't my forte, That means going to a library (some things require hardcopy research). I'm practically surgically attached to my laptop. ;')
I think there are many things we should consider, before choosing one.
Is the standards process open to anyone?
Does a person have to join the organization to participate? Is there always a cost in participating? Who gets a vote?
Does the standards body allow patent encumbrances in standards that would make it costly for developers?
Will the standard be freely implementable by anyone?
Will the standard be available for free to: the public, members, no one? If not, what will be the cost of obtaining a copy?
Are others prevented from disclosing it by some kind of license restriction?
How does the process work?
What is the cost?
That's just a few questions off the top of my head.