FHISO Call for Nominations and Announcement of Annual General Meeting

The Family History Information Standards Organisation is seeking  nominations for the Board of Directors.
The election will be held online with voting being conducted from July 21, 2019 to August 3, 2019, followed by an Annual General Meeting held online on August 10, 2019.
As this is FHISO’s first board election, all positions are open for election. These are:
   Chair – the head of FHISO, with overall responsibility for the smooth running of the organisation.
   Technical Coordinator – the chair of the Technical Standing Committee, with overall responsibility for FHISO’s standardisation and specification work.
   Four Directors at Large to fill other roles on the board.
Terms of office run from the AGM on August 10, 2019 for two years.

It is expected that some board members will hold several roles, for instance, the roles of secretary and treasurer are currently held by the same individual.  The details will depend on the skills and interests of those elected.

Candidates standing for Chair or Technical Coordinator may also stand as a Director at Large, and we encourage this. The elections of Chair and Technical Coordinator are held first, and if the person elected is also standing as a Director at Large, they will be removed from that election.  Candidates may not stand as both Chair and Technical Coordinator.

If there are more than four candidates to serve as Directors at Large, a single election will be held for these four positions.  The ballot will allow members to rank candidates in preference using the single transferable vote system, and the top four will be elected to the board.

Members who wish to put themselves forward as a candidate or who wish to suggest a possible candidate for an office are invited to contact us by email at fhiso@fhiso.org.

The FHISO Board is a small working board.  Each member is expected to have their own remit which might be technical or administrative, and might involve outreach or promoting FHISO’s activities.  We are looking for candidates who can commit the time needed to pursue their remit effectively, however we understand that a board made up of volunteers will have other commitments and try to make allowances for that.  If you’d like to understand more about the work involved, contact us at fhiso@fhiso.org.

Our current board has members in many different time zones and we schedule our meetings at times to best suit board member.  The working language of the board is English, but we will endeavour to support any board members for whom English is not their first language.

FHISO was founded to develop genealogical standards in a more structured environment than the BetterGEDCOM wiki allowed.  We continue to believe there is a pressing need for new, open standards on the exchange and representation of genealogical data, and that there is no organisation better placed than FHISO to develop them.  Although it regrettable that it has taken seven years to reach this stage and some of our initial impetus has been lost in the process, but FHISO is finally starting to make a tangible contribution to genealogy technology with drafts of six technical standards now released, and several more in progress.

We are now looking to bring new members on to the board, with fresh ideas and new enthusiasm to help drive FHISO forwards in its mission. We hope you continue to believe in that mission, as we do, and ask that you consider whether you can help us achieve it by joining the board.

Even if you don’t feel able to stand for election to the board, we ask that you renew your membership and vote in the election.  FHISO’s main expenses are the costs associated with being incorporated in Arizona. For a sustainable future, we need enough members to cover these costs. A larger membership also helps us ensure our work is progressing in the direction the genealogical community want it take.

Membership renewals

Most FHISO members will have received an email on Friday about their membership expiring on 31 May 2019, and asking whether they’d like to renew. A lot of our members paid $20 to join FHISO back in 2013 when we first invited people to become members of the organisation. The $20 membership fee was described as an annual fee, but as setting up FHISO took far longer than anticipated, we felt it inappropriate to ask members to pay to renew their membership renewals while we were still establishing the organisation and started technical work in earnest. We therefore extended all memberships free of charge several times, most recently until 31 May 2019.

We now believe FHISO is now fairly well established, and with public drafts of six standard now available, technical work is well under way too. We plan to hold elections to the FHISO Board of Directors towards the end of July, to be followed by an Annual General Meeting. These will be conducted electronically so that members around the world can participate. The Board believes it is now appropriate to ask those wishing to retain their membership to pay to renew it. We encourage you to do so by 15 July to ensure you will be eligible to vote in the elections later that month.

We hope you continue to believe in FHISO’s objectives and are willing to support our on-going development of open genealogical standards by renewing your membership.

Annual Report to Members for 2018

The FHISO Board of Directors have prepared a report on our activities in 2018, and our plans and concerns for the future. This is the first time we have prepared a report of this nature, covering all aspects of the organisation, but we intend to produce a report like this annually. We have also published our accounts for 2018. If you’d like to comment on this report, feel free to email the Board or the Technical Standing Committee.

Draft of a new ELF Dates standard

FHISO’s Technical Standing Committee is pleased to announce the first public draft of a new standard, Extended Legacy Format (ELF): Date, Age and Time Microformats, or ELF Dates for short. This draft defines microformats for representing dates, ages and times in arbitrary calendars together with how they are applied to the Gregorian, Julian, French Republican and Hebrew calendars in a GEDCOM-compatible manner. It is available as an HTML web page or as a PDF for download.

We welcome comments these, preferably to the tsc-public mailing list. A longer overview of this draft can be read in the the announcement email.

Merry Christmas from all at FHISO, and we wish you an enjoyable New Year.

FHISO Board Meeting 5 June 2018

The FHISO Board met by Google Hangout on 5 June 2018 at 18:05 UTC. Subjects covered included finances, technical work, and outreach.

The minutes of this meeting are available here: https://fhiso.org/minutes/2018-06-05

FHISO Board Meeting 24 April 2018

The FHISO Board met by Google Hangout on 24 April 2018 at 18:00 UTC. Subjects covered included finances, technical work, and outreach.

The minutes of this meeting are available here: https://fhiso.org/minutes/2018-04-24/

FHISO Board Meeting 13 March 2018

The FHISO Board met by Google Hangout on 13 March 2018 at 18:00 UTC. Subjects covered included finances, technical work, outreach, and bylaws.

The minutes of this meeting are available here: https://fhiso.org/minutes/2018-03-13/

New Draft Standards Released

The Technical Standing Committee is happy to announce that several drafts have reached the point of public draft release.
 
Since our last public releases in September 2016, we have been working to resolve issues identified in the last set of drafts and provide a firm foundation for additional future extensions.  This release primarily provides a foundation layer on which future public-facing standards can be built.
 
Work continues on a full Citation Elements Vocabulary, on the Extended Legacy Format (ELF, a document model and file format we hope will be fully compatible with current uses of GEDCOM 5.5.1 but more readily extended, as discussed in the “Progress on ELF” thread last October), and bindings for Citation Elements in both ELF and GEDCOM-X.  However, in working on these it became clear that a variety of additional foundational mechanisms were needed, which foundations are presented in the current set of drafts.  While this material is not exciting, we are excited by the position these drafts put us in to be able to make more coherent progress on other, more inherently exciting standards.
 
The following drafts have reached the point where we would like broader comments, similar to the comments solicited for previous drafts of “Citation Elements: General Concepts” and “Citation Elements: Bindings for RDFa” that we circulated last June and September and “A microformat for creator’s names” we circulated in April 2016.  The three new and two updated drafts are:
 
 
 
This is the first draft of a new standard which defines various low-level concepts, including those relating to our use of strings and IRIs.  It also defines the abstract foundations of our data model. This is content which will be used in many FHISO standards and so does not logically belong in any one particular higher-level standard.
 
 
Another first draft.  This defines a simple, general-purpose discovery mechanism which provides a means for internet-connected applications to access information on any unfamiliar third-party extensions which they may encounter.
 
 
Another first draft.  This defines a dialect of regular expressions that is readily handled by many different regular expression engines, suitable for use in discovery and basic datatype validation.
 
 
The third draft of a standard defining the general concepts used in FHISO’s suite of Citation Elements standards, and the basic framework and data model underpinning them.  Some material from the second draft has been moved to Basic Concepts where it can be reused, and the definitions of many components have been tightened up significantly so they can be used with discovery; however, this draft does not include any major changes to the data model.
 
 
Another third draft.  This standard defines a means by which citation elements may be identified and tagged using RDFa attributes within formatted citations written in HTML or XML, allowing an application to recover them in a systematic manner.  This draft includes no major changes other than the addition of a new overview to processing RDFa.
 
 
We welcome any and all comments on our current drafts on the tsc-public mailing list, and as always invite anyone who would like to be more directly involved in writing and revising documents to let the TSC know.
 

BetterGEDCOM Archive

FHISO has managed to resurrect an archive copy of the BetterGEDCOM wiki — the precursor of FHISO — under their domain name. The pages are based on a WikiSpaces export made after WikiSpaces locked the site in 2016, and because of this it lacks style information and does not include dynamic pages (such as “Recent Changes”) that WikiSpaces had been providing.

The archive may be found at:

https://archive.fhiso.org/BetterGEDCOM/

That link goes to an index page we added as part of the archiving process; the original home page may be found at:

https://archive.fhiso.org/BetterGEDCOM/HOME.html

Note that there isn’t (yet) a ‘search’ function and so it’s currently more browse- than search-able, but it acknowledges the huge effort and deep insights contributed by so many people on multiple topics, many of which FHISO has yet to revisit.

FHISO Board Meeting 23 January 2018

The FHISO Board met by Google Hangout on 23 January 2018 at 18:00 UTC. Subjects covered included legal status, finances, technical work, outreach, bylaws, and RootsTech.

The minutes of this meeting are available here: https://fhiso.org/minutes/2018-01-23/