1. Who owns the Family History Information Standards Organisation?

FHISO is community-owned. The organisation will not sell stock; rather, those in the community “join” and become members of FHISO. The membership elects officers and board members; members also approve changes to the FHISO by-laws and articles of incorporation.

2. Is FHISO incorporated? Where may I read your by-laws and governance manual?

FHISO has been incorporated in Arizona. Its by-laws were developed by an ad hoc committee that included BetterGEDCOM wiki members and others. The by-laws and other FHISO governance documents will become adopted by the board of directors, which itself is established at what is called an “organisational meeting.” The board will yet later approve other materials including additional policy statements and particular tax-exempt status applications.  We are excited, and hope you are too!

3. Why will you charge a fee for membership?

Membership dues will help defray FHISO operating costs. In the near-term, these costs include organisation and professional fees, and the expense to develop and maintain a set of collaboration and communication tools. The membership fees also convey that work of the organisation is not casual.

4. How do members participate in the standards-setting process?

The Organisation was formed for the purpose of creating an open and democratic forum in which community standards are set; success depends on member participation throughout the standards-setting process.

The work to develop requirements and provide solutions is conducted in technical project teams. Any member may propose standardisation projects and/or volunteer to join the work of an existing project team.

The project teams draft standards in a voluntary, transparent, consensus-building process; the standards are approved by member-wide balloting.

The member-elected FHISO board of directors, as the organisation’ s governing body, has the authority to establish the standards approval procedures and policies.

5. What file format will this standard generate?

Our work is likely to initially devise a generally accepted reference data model that is generic and far-reaching in its applicability – not limited to the semantics of the data defined in GEDCOM. The physical representation of the reference data model in a data file will be determined through FHISO’s organised, consensus-building process.

6. With the formation of FHISO, what is the future of BetterGEDCOM?

BetterGEDCOM has been, and will continue to be, an open forum for the exchange of ideas about different aspects of technology and standardisation. Many of those ideas are at the stage where they will need a more structured and organised environment to come to fruition; FHISO will provide that environment.

The establishment of FHISO signals neither the replacement nor the end of BetterGEDCOM. FHISO will be the sponsor of the BetterGEDCOM wiki. The future role and function of the wiki will be determined as FHISO further documents its forum requirements.

7. Why is your “Organisation” not using a z-spelling?
This was to reinforce that although FHISO is domiciled in the United States, its ethos is not US-centric. In reality, the s-spelling (organisation) is preferred in many international locales; the z-spelling is preferred in the US and also by the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).
8. “One community, one standard!” What is this standard?
This is a very effective tag-line but it needs to be read in context. A community should only have one standard for a particular purpose, otherwise it is not really a standard. FHISO will certainly be working on multiple standards, but only one for each distinct purpose.