24 October 2011 Meeting Notes


Andy H. (moderating), Christine E., Geir T., GeneJ, Robert B., Roger M., Tamura J.
Absent by notice: Myrt and Dovy P.
--We wish Myrt a speedy recovery.


Christine--Discounted Rootstech 2012 registration is available for a very short while (October 27-29) through the genealogical societies that are members of FGS.

Agenda items

Item 1: Adding "Developing the Organization" to navbar/wiki home page.

Discussed benefits and expectations related to giving prominence (nav bar/home page) to this proposal. Concern mentioned that working on "organizing" is not/may not be seen by all as accomplishing tasks. The page the nav bar and home page reference should also organize related content posted to other wiki pages. Do we have sufficient members to support an organized effort? Will work on the organizational effort actually appeal to potential members? (End user/potential members may just visit the site to add an issue or see if their issue has already been identified in the requirements catalog.) More than one member suggested formalizing the organization is just standard procedure ("humble need for formal organization").
Action item: GeneJ/Geir will add "Developing the Organization" to navbar/wiki home page.

[Item 2:] Roundtable discussion -- considerations for advancing "Developing the organization"

Various comments, some follow. A small group will work to advance these ideas into an initial proposal/integrated framework for work on "Developing the Organization." (Elements of solution should advance the purpose/goal.)
(a) On the page he created, Gordon Clarke provided a set of instructions, including items to be considered before formalizing a charter. He provided some links to additional reference materials. Recognized standards organizations make some additional other materials available--often evidence of some consistent themes such as why standards are important, how standards support innovation, how stakeholders are determined, what is consensus building, how technical projects develop, etc.
(b) Many questions asked--what is our "stakeholder pie?" How can we improve the discussion dialog? (Comment that Wikispaces back-up does not support page discussions). Should mailing lists be used? Google Groups? (W3C makes the following default tools available to Community Groups--Blog, Mailing lists, Wiki, IRC and Issue tracking tool.) Should we have a membership committee or subproject? How do we keep the initial focus on diverse stakeholders and user needs? Where and when are matters related to "scope" determined? Should some ideas be developed by small groups into proposals worthy of circulation/posting--some form more suitable as a basis for consensus building. What is consensus--do we know it when we see it?
(c) Some concepts were discussed-- Might we build on ability to develop well thought out specification segments, which later or even by others are considered in a an overall standard. Continue to serve as a place where end users and independent technologists present issues and ideas. Isn't it likely our wiki already serves as an input model for others who are conducting development work.
(d) What have we learned from the surveys/votes the group has conducted?
(e) Andy, Geir, GeneJ, Robert and Roger indicated they would be interested in off-wiki work to develop a framework which advances the Wikipage, "Developing the organization."

[Item 3:'] Follow-Up--FamilySearch's "new gedcom"/Rootstech 2012.

Christine reported on her follow up from the meeting 9 Oct 2011 about Ryan Heaton's presentations scheduled for Rootstech. No further information is available about Ryan Heaton's planned "new gedcom" presentations (incl. "how to produce and consume it") and "what is it, what's it's scope, how is the project managed and maintained?"), but conference planner Barbara Renick indicates spontaneous discussions ("unconference/impromptu sessions") will be featured this year (as they were in 2011). Question was asked if the Mr. Heaton's presentation might be early enough in the conference that such spontaneous session could produce some meaningful collaboration/discussion. (How do we follow up with Rootstech organizers on the topic of "early enough.")

[Item 4:] Broader solution for sources and citations.

Geir working off wiki on a proposal/framework for international sources and citations.

Follow up:

(1) Add planning for Wiki renewal to the next meeting agenda.

Posted by: GeneJ. (I took 3-1/2 pages of notes. Hope things are summarized well enough above. If not, please click the "EDIT" tab at the top of this wiki page and make corrections.)


ttwetmore 2011-10-25T01:11:51-07:00
Whence the Model?
I keep checking in to see if there seems to be any interest being expressed or work being done on the BG genealogical data model. As far as I can see there has been no work done in this area for months. And, frankly, this is the only area that really matters, and if work does not commence in that area BG will not succeed.

When I joined BG, almost a year ago now, I had very high hopes that BG could get going on a new model. I expended hours and hours of efforts on this wiki working towards a model, discussing with anyone any ideas they might have, reaching some closures, reaching understood impasses where important decisions were necessary. Nothing came of this and this is what we really are.

I have put forward my DeadEnds model as a starting point for discussions time and again. It represents in my mind the best model available to to kick off discussions. Nothing has come from this.

There are already other organizations, commercial organizations, quietly and competently solving the BG requirements. Family Search is heading in some real direction with GEDCOM that it seems we're going to learn about at RootsTech. The hand writing is on the wall.

At this point my assumption can only be that BG will never reach the critical mass of interested, technically competent genealogists and application developers necessary to solve the problems of genealogical data exchange.

Please dispute my conclusions.
testuser42 2011-10-26T16:41:49-07:00
As far as I'm concerned, I think the main points of the data model have been discussed and explained enough. I believe separating evidence and conclusions is now widely accepted here.

As to HOW to do that, I think there weren't any serious disagreements (maybe I've forgotten ;)
The one thing I remember is Louis wanted to have a seperate Evidence record in addition to Personas, which wasn't in the DeadEnds Model. Well, that's no problem.

Multiple levels of Persons and Events are probably the most flexible and powerful. But maybe put this through a few tests? Let's take the DeadEnds model and use it for some (more) real problems. We might see where we want to change or add something.

The citations/sources part is also well discussed and I think there have been good ideas how to implement this. Again, I feel there are no fundamental differences and problems. Let's see it in action!

I would love to see a program for beta-testing the DeadEnds model or any other model. The best model is useless if it can't be put to work in a good program. But until Louis gets Behold to v2 which will support editing, or Tom rewrites Lifelines, or Gramps adds experimental support, we'll probably have to make do with "thinking it through" on virtual paper...
Wasn't there a program posted recently? (...searching) ah, yes GEDC. Has anybody tried that already?

Re your conclusion
At this point my assumption can only be that BG will never reach the critical mass of interested, technically competent genealogists and application developers necessary to solve the problems of genealogical data exchange.
Hm... possible. I'm interested, but not too competent technically. Also I find it hard to make the time for regular work here :(
We do have a number of really good people, but I wonder if there aren't more independent software developers interested? The German group (maybe 20 people) seems to have agreed on most of their GEDCOM issues. But they don't go beyond conclusion-only, if I remember correctly. So where are the people that are going to implement the BetterGedcom? Is the need for a BG not yet obvious enough? The benefits to genealogists and genealogy?
testuser42 2011-10-26T16:48:53-07:00
How to continue?
Maybe we can go through the requirement catalogue item by item and check the requirements versus the DeadEnds model. We might find things that need to be clarified in the model or in the requirements. At least I think this would lead to more constructive work.