[Core-Concepts] A suggested prioritisation of CCEG work

Luther Tychonievich ltychonievich at fhiso.org
Wed Jan 14 09:20:20 CST 2015

Core concepts EG and community,

After much discussion between the TSC, the FHISO Board, and several other
stakeholders including the CCEG coordinator, the TSC has decided to propose
the following priorities for the CCEG's work.

Designing a new conclusion-transfer format is not currently a priority.
This stems from three basic observations.
- There does not appear to be much interest in individuals investing in
such an effort.
- The TSC and Board agree that we would rather invest effort in Sources &
Citations and on developing a research-transfer format.
- So far, there does not appear to be a compelling reason to write a custom
format instead of working from what is extant.

GEDCOM and GEDCOM-X appear to be the only existing technologies for
representing conclusions with significant market share, and unless and
until we have the resources to develop a new technology we'd like to focus
on incremental changes to one or both of those models.  Extensions of
GEDCOM-X are possible under its license; in practice many extensions of
GEDCOM have also been permitted, though we are unaware of explicit licenses
to permit those.

We are not intending by this to disparage any other format.  If someone can
demonstrate core concepts that can be modeled in another format but not in
one of these two large-market-share formats, we are hopeful that the CCEG
will either propose extensions to add support to one or both formats or
advise we switch to another format as our baseline.

We envision the CCEG investigating the following ideas, all subject to the
scope of the CCEG (individuals, events, families, relations):

1. Ambiguity.  Are there use cases where multiple encodings are possible in
either or both formats, and if so are the distinct encodings semantically
interchangeable or are there subtle differences?

2. Coverage. Are there use cases that cannot be expressed in one or both
formats, and if so how practicable would it be to extend the model(s) to
cover those cases?

3. Conversion.  What hope is there for algorithmic conversions between
GEDCOM and GEDCOM-X?  Can changes be proposed to improve convertibility?
Is a lossless round-trip conversion a feasible goal?

4. Overlap.  What, if any, parts of GEDCOM and GEDCOM-X could usefully be
abstracted into a single standard document?  Would a shared list of event
types be practical?  How much of their underlying data model is shared?
What portion of each specification does not have a direct parallel in the

As with all EGs, the final deliverable for the CCEG would be either one or
more Project Proposals (for example, proposing a full GEDCOM-X fork to
address some identified issues) and/or one or more Technical Group Notes
(for example, explaining that a project proposal is not warranted and
why).  Although we are not expecting it on any particular schedule, once
work becomes well-defined and consensus becomes important creating such
deliverables is the end goal of the CCEG.

There is a lot of work to be done even with this focused scope, and we
again encourage the FHISO community to assist. We also continue to
encourage those observers with interests in these areas to volunteer for
membership in the CCEG.

—Luther Tychonievich, TSC Coordinator
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