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# Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Genealogists Join to Build a Better GEDCOM
Posted by Diane

In an effort to “build a better GEDCOM,” a group of genealogists and programmers have established a wiki workspace called BetterGEDCOM

GEDCOM (for GEnealogy Data COMmunication) is the language genealogy software programs use to communicate with each other—when you export family data from your genealogy software, you create either a file native to that program or a GEDCOM file that other genealogy programs and websites can read.

(Get help creating a GEDCOM from FamilyTreeMagazine.com's free GEDCOM Basics article.)

But the GEDCOM file format has some shortcomings—one being that it hasn’t been updated in 14 years.

“In the meantime, genealogists have incorporated tools with expanded capabilities reflecting changing technology," says Russ Worthington, a genealogy lecturer and software “power user.”

GEDCOM files you export from your genealogy software may leave out some of your research. “The current GEDCOM file exchange strips out much of my hard work, leaving only some of the data I've typed and attached to each well-documented ancestor,” says genealogy blogger DearMYRTLE. “We experience similar problems when uploading and downloading our genealogy data with popular genealogy websites."

More GEDCOM problems are pointed out in this DearMYRTLE blog post.

The BetterGEDCOM wiki allows genealogy software programmers, website developers and end users to collaborate on developing better data exchange standards. Organizers hope this will facilitate sharing between researchers who use a variety of technology platforms, genealogy products and services. 

"We also seek to account for language and cultural differences as we develop data standards for recording family history information." says Greg Lamberson, the technician who developed the wiki’s initial pages. "Input from BetterGEDCOM participants the world over is a vital component."

BetterGEDCOM plans to codify standards, giving genealogy software developers a framework to resolve problems, and will seek recognition by international standards organizations.

Click here to visit the BetterGEDCOM wiki; the “Where do I start?” section on the home page and the “What is BetterGEDCOM?” link on the left are good places to begin. Anyone can join the effort—just click Join at the top to register.

Confused by computer file formats? Consult our free computer file format glossary on FamilyTreeMagazine.com to learn what your mystery file is.


Genealogy Software | Genealogy Web Sites | Tech Advice
Wednesday, November 10, 2010 9:35:46 AM (Eastern Standard Time, UTC-05:00)  #  Comments [0]