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Ryan Heaton: GEDCOM X at RootsTech 2012

These are the exact notes I took during Ryan’s two GEDCOM X talks.

Also included are photos I took for my own reference (please don’t distribute them further). Click on them to get larger versions.

First session: “A New GEDCOM: Project Scope, Goals, and Governance”

  • Shout out to legacy GEDCOM. It’s time to move on now. We need a new standard.
  • We want it adopted. We want DEEP adoption. Need a common vocabulary.
  • Open source parser. Open source user apps.
  • Community ownership.
  • “Nobody is as smart as everybody.” Everybody brings their own expertise and experience.
  • A standard takes time to get infused into community AND a lot of expertise.
  • “Running code” always wins. No matter how cool your idea is, it has no weight until it is out there in use.
  • Technologies used in a standard need to be widely used already and have stood the test of time.
  • Need integration points with other standards (e.g. Name authority, place authority)
  • Need rich documentation.
  • GEDCOM X - working on it for the past year.
  • We’re headed there. We’re not there yet.
  • A vision: Extract the little pieces of data that are on the images. They are mini-trees. Trace them through the process back down to the original source.
  • Open source java code to write out a GEDCOM X file.
  • More choices are needed. Should be able to choose which you want, e.g. XML and JSON, or RDF.
  • XML and JSON is already integrated into FamilySearch products.
  • gedcomx.net and gedcomx.org and //github.com/FamilySearch/gedcomx
  • The project to date has been all FamilySearch’s doing. We now need your help.
  • This is the first step. An invitation to start.
  • Tim Cross is the project manager over Ryan.
  • Question to Ryan: How fully defined and stable is it currently. Answer: The model is more stable than Restful APIs.
  • FamilySearch is committed to see this through.
  • All issues with the model should be discussed in Github. They will be addressed and answered there.
  • gedcomx.org/Community.html and gedcomx.org/File-Format.html
  • Expecting to open this up soon, but not yet fully staffed. Be patient!

IMG_8857 Ryan at first session

IMG_8858 Ryan’s project manager: Tim Cross


Second session: “A New GEDCOM: Tools, Syntax and Semantics”

  • GEDCOM X - The guts: Multilevel conclusions. The point of GEDCOM X is to enable this process.
  • Record model. Conclusion Model. The Materials.
  • RDF, XML, JSON, Dublin Core (for source citation terminology)
  • FOAF describes users of the system
  • HTTP - part of the API specs
  • REST - Representational State Transform
  • Atom - Standard for providing feeds
  • Also a standard for providing search results.
  • Common model - common to all models. Formal value is for normalisation and standardisation (e.g. data)
  • Record model - persona is the capture of the data of a single person in a specific record (no conclusions).
  • Field - 3 value types: original, interpreted, formal
  • Not in yet: group list of resources linked to people.
  • Not including the notion of a family. That is very difficult.
  • We want to model and meet the special cases that people bring in.
  • The metadata is simply a Dublin Core description.
  • File format.
  • Enable a tower of conclusions. It’s never been done like this before.
  • Extensibility - how much to allow? This still needs to be decided.

IMG_8868 Second Session: The Vision

IMG_8870 The Materials.

IMG_8871 The Model

IMG_8872 Parts of the Common Model




IMG_8876 Parts of the Record Model



IMG_8879 Parts of the Conclusion Model

IMG_8880Parts of the Metadata model

IMG_8881 File Format





IMG_8887 App Profiles






Also see this GEDCOM X discussion on the GRAMPS forum

And this from the Ancestry Insider.