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. Once FHISO is fully established, the membership will elect the Board of Directors, approve significant changes to the by-laws and articles of incorporation, and approve standards.

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, and were adopted by the initial Board of Directors at the “organisational meeting” at which FHISO was established. They have subsequently been updated by the Board on several occasions to better suit the organisation. In due course, the Board may produce further governance documents and apply for tax-exempt status.

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?

FHISO was formed for the purpose of creating an open and democratic forum in which community standards are set; its success depends on constructive member participation throughout the standards-setting process. Technical work is primarily being carried out on the tsc-public mailing list, coordinated by the Technical Standing Committee (TSC) who also determine FHISO’s technical priorities.

5. What file format will this standard generate?

We believe it is unrealistic to produce an all-encompassing standard with the resources currently at FHISO’s disposal, and were such a standard to be produced, it runs the risk of being ignored, much as other attempts at a new standard such as the GenTech Data Model have been.

Instead, our intention is to develop a series of standards each covering a narrow area. Over time, these will fit together to form FHISO’s new data model, but at first they are likely to be used in existing data models, in particular GEDCOM and GEDCOM X, which the FHISO Board have identified as the two dominant non-proprietary data models at present.

6. 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).

7. “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.