FHISO Board Meeting 1 August 2017

The FHISO Board met by Google Hangout on 1 August 2017 at 1800 UTC. Subjects covered included finances, extending existing memberships, and a report from the Technical Project Team on the two draft standards released on 29 June.

The minutes of this meeting are available here: http://fhiso.org/minutes/2017-08-01/ 

Draft Citation Standards for Public Comment

FHISO has reached an important milestone by releasing its very first draft standards for public comment.
1) Citation Elements: General Concepts

Presents the relationship between formatted citations and citation elements; presents a model for layered citations; presents a solution for replicated data in different languages or scripts; discusses subtyping, extensions, constraints, and cardinality; describes preservation of structure in list-flattening formats; provides all needed information for creating serialization formats and data model bindings.


2) Citation Elements: Bindings for RDFa

Presents a data model binding and serialization as RDFa attributes in HTML or XML, and thus for semantic markup of a formatted citation in HTML. An example of a list-flattening format and proof of concept that the concepts document is sufficient to define a data model binding.


A list of current drafts can be accessed at <http://tech.fhiso.org/drafts/>.  We welcome any and all comments on these on the tsc-public mailing list <http://tech.fhiso.org/tsc-public>.

FHISO Board Meeting 13 June 2017

The FHISO Board met by Google Hangout on 13 June 2017 at 1800 UTC. Subjects covered include their legal status, finances, extending existing memberships, technical project team, and publication of imminent draft standards.

The minutes of this meeting are available here: http://fhiso.org/minutes/2017-06-13/

FHISO Board Meeting 6 March 2017

The FHISO Board met by Google Hangout on 16 March 2017 at 1300 UTC. Amendments of the Bylaws were proposed: (A) to remove references to the Membership Standing Committee (MSC) from the Bylaws; (B) to rename the Technical Standing Committee officers to be consistent with the newly renamed Membership Coordinators; and (C) to make various other minor editorial changes to the Bylaws. A revised Appeals Process Policy was circulated, including changes discussed in the earlier Board Meeting.

The minutes of this meeting are available here: http://fhiso.org/minutes/2017-03-16/
Previous Board minutes may be found here: http: http://fhiso.org/minutes

FHISO Board Meeting 6 March 2016

The FHISO Board met by Google Hangout on 6 March 2016 at 2000 UTC. There was discussion about the FHISO administrative structure and Roger assuming access to the Bank of America bank account.

The minutes of this meeting are available here.

Technical Priorities and Work Process

The TSC have agreed on a new set of priorities for technical work, which are discussed in more detail in our strategy paper. In preparation for this work, the TSC have drafted a policy on the use of vocabularies. We would welcome discussion of these on the tsc-public mailing list.

The Board and TSC have recognised that FHISO’s by-laws, the TSC charter, and the TSC operations and policy manual were designed with a large organization in mind and are impeding work with the present number of volunteers. We plan to adopt a much less structured, more volunteer-based interim process until our governance structure is overhauled, and technical work towards our priorities will occur in a “committee of the whole” on the tsc-public mailing list.

The minutes of the January board meeting are also now available.

FHISO Board Meeting 27 November 2015

FHISO were pleased to welcome Tony Proctor, recently appointed Vice Chair of FHISO, to his first board meeting on Friday.  The minutes can be found online.

Tony is a Genealogist with considerable experience in software design and development. He graduated in physics but entered computing in late 1970’s. Born in Nottingham, England, Tony is currently working from rural Ireland.

FHISO Board Announced

The following individuals are presently serving as members of the Executive Committee of Family History Information Standards Organisation.


Drew Smith – Chair
Drew Smith is an Assistant Librarian with the Academic Services unit of the University of South Florida (USF) Tampa Library, and serves as the liaison librarian to the USF School of Information and to the Florida Center for Cybersecurity. He has taught graduate-level courses in genealogical librarianship and indexing/abstracting, and undergraduate-level courses in web design. Drew earlier worked for academic computing departments at USF and at Clemson University (South Carolina).He is a past Director of FGS (2008-2013), past chair of its Technology Committee, and currently the “Rootsmithing with Technology” columnist for its FORUM magazine. He is past Secretary of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG). Drew is President of the Florida Genealogical Society of Tampa and has served on the board of the Florida State Genealogical Society. He administers the GENEALIB electronic mailing list with over 1200 genealogy librarians as subscribers, a list he founded in 1996.Drew has been the co-host of The Genealogy Guys Podcast since September 2005, and together with George G. Morgan has produced over 270 one-hour episodes. Drew is author of the book Social Networking for Genealogists, published in 2009 by Genealogical Publishing Company, and with George is co-author of the book Advanced Genealogy Research Techniques, published in 2013 by McGraw-Hill. Drew has written extensively for NGS NewsMagazine (now NGS Magazine), Genealogical Computing, and Digital Genealogist.Drew holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a Master of Science in Industrial Management from Clemson University, and a Master of Arts in Library and Information Science from USF.
Roger Moffat – Secretary
Roger Moffat is a transplant from New Zealand, where he last worked as the Manager of the New Zealand Research Station in Antarctica. He has been been involved in FHISO from its start and BetterGEDCOM as well. Roger studied Agricultural Engineering in New Zealand in the 1970s, and became interested in genealogy when he bought his first Macintosh computer in 1988.Serving as Genealogist for the Clan Moffat Society and DataMaster for the Western Michigan Genealogical Society, Roger is well versed in the challenges associated with moving genealogical data between different applications and formats. He’s looking forward to a standards-driven environment where things “just work”.
Greg Lamberson – Treasurer
Greg Lamberson, longtime genealogist, who runs the genealogy website at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~glamberson/ . Also an organizing member of FHISO ( http://www.fhiso.org ). Greg has extensive experience managing an organization’s technological growth and long-range plan in conjunction with its business goals. His specialities are IT management, Network architecture, cross-platform integration, and strategic planning. He is presently employed as Chief Information Officer- Egypt by VSE Corporation.
Luther Tychonievich – Technical Standing Committee Coordinator
Luther Tychonievich earned his doctorate in computer science in 2013 and now teaches in the computer science department at the University of Virginia. He became involved with FHISO in early 2013, becoming its secretary in August 2013 and the coordinator of the technical standing committee in June 2014. He is fascinated by the technical challenges that family history data present and human-computer interaction that the underlying data models inspire, particularly as it relates to collaborative research.
Richard Smith – Technical Standing Committee Co-Cordinator
Richard Smith has been interested in genealogy for more than 20 years, and joined FHISO in April 2013. He has been an active contributor to FHISO’s Call for Papers and since July 2013 has served as the co-coordinator of FHISO’s Technical Standing Committee. Richard lives in Cambridge, England and works for Mythic Beasts, an internet hosting company he co-founded in 2000.He previously spent seven years working as a C++ developer in a knowledge management start-up, and holds Master of Arts and Master of Natural Science degrees from Cambridge University where he studied physics. He is familiar with a wide range of open standards in the field of data representation and exchange, and is looking forward to putting this experience to use as FHISO develop new genealogical standards.
Andrew Hatchett – Membership Standing Committee Coordinator
An amateur genealogist for more than 50 years, Andrew Hatchett served in the United States Air Force and has experience in business, office management, sales and quality control. He retired from Laboratory Corporation of America in 2001 and has since been a beta tester for several software companies.He joined BetterGEDCOM in February 2011; in November of that year, he became Moderator of the BetterGEDCOM Wiki and part of the group organizing FHISO. Andrew previously served as Vice-President/Secretary of Family History Information Standards Organisation from March 2012 thru August 2013. He presently serves as Membership Standing Committee Coordinator of FHISO and Moderator of the BetterGEDCOM Wiki.
Brett McPhee – Membership Standing Committee Co-Coordinator
Brett McPhee has worked across several fields including banking, retail, manufacturing, government and education. Roles include clerical, farming, assembly, payroll, policy development, style and standards setting, accreditation, web development, IT support, software development, book editing, research and reporting.After researching the history of a heritage listed house he was living in, Brett began researching his own family history in 2006. He has helped many with research and recording their work but often found conflict in how this history data was shared across various programs and platforms. After finding the BetterGEDCOM group, Brett assisted in the initial establishment of FHISO and currently sits as a Board member.


FHISO is also pleased to announce that expiration dates for all memberships purchased before August 1, 2014 are being extended by an additional year.



The standards development process

We are pleased to announce that the FHISO Board have approved a Operations and Policy Manual which should help clarify how we envisage the standards development process proceeding. We identify three main phases in the production of a new standards: idea generation, exploratory work, and project development. The manual details how these stages will operate to ensure an open, transparent and inclusive development process.

Idea generation is where we find out from the community what areas they want to see addressed in future standards. It began with the Call for Papers we announced last spring. More recently we set up the tsc-public mailing list for more informal discussion. Even though we are ready to begin exploratory work in certain areas, we welcome new ideas from all interested parties and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

Exploratory work will be carried out in a number of exploratory groups (or EGs), each exploring a particular area. We expect the first of these to commence work shortly. Each group will be issued with specific directives detailing its precise responsibilities. Typically this phase will begin with a review of current applications and standards. Third-party research and ideas submitted to FHISO will be considered, and a consensus reached on the scope of future FHISO work in the field. The EGs will then try to build consensus on the major decisions necessary to recommend the broad substance of the eventual standard.

Project development is the last stage. Project teams will pull together areas of exploratory work and develop them into a coherent standards. This is where the details will get sorted out and the inevitable inconsistencies resolved. The result will be a proposed standard that, after review by the Technical Standing Committee and the Board, may be adopted as a standard by a ballot of all FHISO members.

Technical work begins at FHISO

The Family History Information Standards Organisation (FHISO) is pleased to announce that its Technical Standing Committee is starting the technical work on a new, open genealogical standard. We are seeking to build an active and diverse community to collaborate in this process, and we encourage FHISO members and non-members alike to participate.

Much of the initial technical work will be carried out in exploratory groups, each focusing on a specific aspect of the FHISO’s standardisation work. For each group, we are looking for members of the FHISO who are willing to commit to active participation. Once a group has enough committed participants and starts work, anyone will be able to join in with that work.

Don’t want to join one of these exploratory groups, but still want to be involved? No problem! We have created the tsc-public mailing list for the discussion of any other technical matter that you believe the FHISO should be interested in. Perhaps you disagree with our decision on how to proceed? This is the place to tell us. The FHISO is community-owned and your opinions matter to us.

Finally, we recommend that all interested parties subscribe to the tsc-announce mailing list, which is a very low-volume list that we will use for occasional announcements and updates. If you want to contact the Technical Standing Committee, we can be reached by email at tsc@fhiso.org.

We regret taking so long to reach this stage. The hiatus has been due to a combination of unforeseen events outside our control, but these are largely resolved and we have streamlined our processes hopefully to avoid a recurrence.