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Re: [gensoft] Re: Hosted Genealogy Software

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  • Dawn Crowley
    I have differing levels of certainty on different data for the same individual. For example: death date confirmed from multiple reliable primary sources
    Message 1 of 18 , Feb 11, 2006
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      I have differing levels of certainty on different data for the same individual.  For example:
          death date confirmed from multiple reliable primary sources
          marriage date estimated due to lack of primary or secondary sources
          birth date estimated based on eldest known child (especially for men who age 12-15 years per decade while women age 6-9 years in the same decade!)
          relationships to each individual have varying confidence levels
      Therefore, the confidence tags need to relate to events and to people.

      Dawn

      John Topley wrote:
      --- In gensoft@yahoogroups.com, Jim Winfrey <jimwinfrey@...> wrote:
      >
      > Well John, since you asked, my perfect collaborative world would be a tool
      > where I and the researchers who are working with me can enter all kinds of
      > data - research notes, basis for the inevitable assumptions I have to make,
      > ways of identifying conflicting data, any the other kinds of stuff we keep
      > in all those file boxes.  I'd like standard genealogy functions like
      > recording of events, census data, alternate information, etc.
      >
      > One thing I'd love to see is a way to identify overall confidence for all
      > the people in my database.  For instance the confidence level for the
      > relatives I have known is very high but for my 7th great grandmother from
      > Poland that I got off the IGI database, the confidence level that this is
      > even the right person is very low.  I'd like to be able to identify, for
      > every person (not just individual events) the confidence level that this
      > person is a part of this tree.  Several programs let you do this way down
      > deep in the sources somewhere but it would be extremely useful to have the
      > information adjacent to the person's name.
      >
      > My desires for viewing and output for a collaborative tool would be to have
      > a common genealogy front end that relatives and casual researchers could get
      > into via an access code.  Then a second level I would call research
      > repository where the serious researchers I'm involved with can put
      > any/everything we collect related to our research targets.  This would be
      > almost a free form database where stuff would be stored in raw form until it
      > was proven, used, disproved, or determined not to be useful, then it would
      > be cleaned up and used to establish confidence for the data in the front
      > end.
      >
      > Thanks,
      >
      > Jim

      Thanks Jim. How do you envisage the confidence level feature working? Would it be as
      simple as assigning a rating (say one to five) to each individual? The view on the tree could
      then be filtered by confidence level if desired.

      John



    • Jim Winfrey
      I think most genie programs assign surety levels for each source but that is not obvious until you drill down to the sources. The problem is for a given
      Message 2 of 18 , Feb 11, 2006
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        I think most genie programs assign surety levels for each source but that is not obvious until you drill down to the sources.  The problem is for a given person we can have sources with a high level of certainty down to some with low levels - all for the same person.  The problem I run across is that I can have a person who is well sourced in their events but what is missing is a certainty level for whether they are really part of the line I'm researching.  I try to always document my uncertainties but that doesn't show when I'm looking through my family lines.  I was looking for some rating system that shows on the main screen for an individual.  It could be as simple as 1.  Assumption based on available evidence, 2.  Supported by evidence and sources, 3.  Proven by evidence and sources.

        Jim

        On 2/11/06, Paul Blair <pblair30@...> wrote:
        --- In gensoft@yahoogroups.com, "John Topley" <john@...> wrote:
        >
        > --- In gensoft@yahoogroups.com, Jim Winfrey <jimwinfrey@> wrote:
        > >
        > > Well John, since you asked, my perfect collaborative world would
        be a tool
        > > where I and the researchers who are working with me can enter all
        kinds of
        > > data - research notes, basis for the inevitable assumptions I have
        to make,
        > > ways of identifying conflicting data, any the other kinds of stuff
        we keep
        > > in all those file boxes.  I'd like standard genealogy functions like
        > > recording of events, census data, alternate information, etc.
        > >
        > > One thing I'd love to see is a way to identify overall confidence
        for all
        > > the people in my database.  For instance the confidence level for the
        > > relatives I have known is very high but for my 7th great
        grandmother from
        > > Poland that I got off the IGI database, the confidence level that
        this is
        > > even the right person is very low.  I'd like to be able to
        identify, for
        > > every person (not just individual events) the confidence level
        that this
        > > person is a part of this tree.  Several programs let you do this
        way down
        > > deep in the sources somewhere but it would be extremely useful to
        have the
        > > information adjacent to the person's name.
        > >
        > > My desires for viewing and output for a collaborative tool would
        be to have
        > > a common genealogy front end that relatives and casual researchers
        could get
        > > into via an access code.  Then a second level I would call research
        > > repository where the serious researchers I'm involved with can put
        > > any/everything we collect related to our research targets.  This
        would be
        > > almost a free form database where stuff would be stored in raw
        form until it
        > > was proven, used, disproved, or determined not to be useful, then
        it would
        > > be cleaned up and used to establish confidence for the data in the
        front
        > > end.
        > >
        > > Thanks,
        > >
        > > Jim
        >
        > Thanks Jim. How do you envisage the confidence level feature
        working? Would it be as
        > simple as assigning a rating (say one to five) to each individual?
        The view on the tree could
        > then be filtered by confidence level if desired.
        >
        > John
        >

        RootsMagic has this in the source recording area - they use Citation
        Quality – this is a primary, secondary, questionable, or unreliable
        source for this person, family or fact.

        Paul









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      • kr_afol
        The idea of web-hosted collaborative software is not new. There is at least one system out there (can t remember its name though). However, the problem that I
        Message 3 of 18 , Feb 11, 2006
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          The idea of web-hosted collaborative software is not new. There is
          at least one system out there (can't remember its name though).

          However, the problem that I have found with putting even limited
          information onto the WWW (in a non-collaborative way) is that there
          is always someone who wants to violently disagree with it.

          For example, I have a relative who thinks our great-grandfather had
          3 marriages compared to the 2 I believe occurred. The issue hinges
          on one document that contains the name of this purported third wife.
          I believe that this is simply an appalling rendering of the German
          name of the second wife by an English clerk and that there is no
          third wife. He believes there is a third wife. Now my point here is
          not who is right or who is wrong. My point is that different people
          can look at the same source material and form different conclusions
          and this is where collaboration gets tricky.

          Yes, you can have a system of confidence levels that each researcher
          can assign to each fact, but frankly I'm not sure I want to
          have "my" family history full of putative spouses and other junk
          that I have to run around assigning low levels of confidence to. I
          think it would irritate me enormously. If every researcher maintains
          their own database, then everyone is free to have their own version
          of events and add only that which pleases them to add.

          I guess in summary, the idea is a good one, but I worry about the
          social side of collaboration.

          For example, who would ultimately control the information on the
          collaborative site? Look at this Yahoo group as a point in case.
          There is a group owner who ultimately controls the group. I presume
          that any message I post can be unilaterally deleted by the group
          owner and that I can be thrown out of the group by the group owner.
          So the group owner is all powerful but since I have very little
          invested in my involvement in the group, that's OK.

          But how would a collaborative genealogy site work in this regard? I
          have a lot of research invested in my family history. Would I be
          happy to use a site hosted by SomeoneElse as my primary information
          store? Would I be confident it would continue to be available? Would
          I be happy that the site owner could (for whatever reason) delete
          material I had added? Hmm, maybe not.

          Kerry
        • Paul Blair
          I have had phpGedView running for about 2 years less a couple of months. There are 30 users, about half of them have edit rights. This means they can suggest
          Message 4 of 18 , Feb 11, 2006
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            I have had phpGedView running for about 2 years less a couple of
            months. There are 30 users, about half of them have "edit" rights.
            This means they can suggest amendments, or add new data. The data is
            a copy of what I have on my own home machine, and the site is
            password protected.

            All changes comes back to me to approve. That sounds a bit extreme,
            but this starts can start a negotiation process. In all of the work
            (perhaps a couple of hundred amendments), there have been only 2
            unresolved issues, and these are added to the notes so the
            disagreement is known about.

            The collaboration spans the globe - England, Canada, Texas (well,
            they seem to think it's a country!), all over Australia (where we're
            not so sure...) It has saved me countless hours of research, created
            interest where there may have been none before, and opened doors that
            I've really delighted about. The process holds no fears for me. And
            it sure speeds up family debate!

            My 2c worth.

            Paul

            At 09:24 am 12-02-2006, you wrote:
            >The idea of web-hosted collaborative software is not new. There is
            >at least one system out there (can't remember its name though).
            >
            >However, the problem that I have found with putting even limited
            >information onto the WWW (in a non-collaborative way) is that there
            >is always someone who wants to violently disagree with it.
            >
            >For example, I have a relative who thinks our great-grandfather had
            >3 marriages compared to the 2 I believe occurred. The issue hinges
            >on one document that contains the name of this purported third wife.
            >I believe that this is simply an appalling rendering of the German
            >name of the second wife by an English clerk and that there is no
            >third wife. He believes there is a third wife. Now my point here is
            >not who is right or who is wrong. My point is that different people
            >can look at the same source material and form different conclusions
            >and this is where collaboration gets tricky.
            >
            >Yes, you can have a system of confidence levels that each researcher
            >can assign to each fact, but frankly I'm not sure I want to
            >have "my" family history full of putative spouses and other junk
            >that I have to run around assigning low levels of confidence to. I
            >think it would irritate me enormously. If every researcher maintains
            >their own database, then everyone is free to have their own version
            >of events and add only that which pleases them to add.
            >
            >I guess in summary, the idea is a good one, but I worry about the
            >social side of collaboration.
            >
            >For example, who would ultimately control the information on the
            >collaborative site? Look at this Yahoo group as a point in case.
            >There is a group owner who ultimately controls the group. I presume
            >that any message I post can be unilaterally deleted by the group
            >owner and that I can be thrown out of the group by the group owner.
            >So the group owner is all powerful but since I have very little
            >invested in my involvement in the group, that's OK.
            >
            >But how would a collaborative genealogy site work in this regard? I
            >have a lot of research invested in my family history. Would I be
            >happy to use a site hosted by SomeoneElse as my primary information
            >store? Would I be confident it would continue to be available? Would
            >I be happy that the site owner could (for whatever reason) delete
            >material I had added? Hmm, maybe not.
            >
            >Kerry
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >
            >
          • Kerry Raymond
            ... This is my point. The reason it works (for you) is that you remain in control, some are allowed to assist you, while others have merely an observer role.
            Message 5 of 18 , Feb 11, 2006
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              > All changes comes back to me to approve. That sounds a bit
              extreme,
              > but this starts can start a negotiation process.
               
              This is my point. The reason it works (for you) is that you remain in control, some are allowed to assist you, while others have merely an observer role. I'd be happy if I remained in control of the data too :-) But would it work for you if you didn't have that control and if everyone had edit rights? Would you be happy to put your data on my phpGedView where I had the control?
               
              Just out of curiousity ... with phpGedView (which I have never used, but have seen it on a few sites), what happens if I set up one too (over which I retain control as you do) and then we discover that we have a branch of our two families in common. How do we combine the information? Which site holds/controls it? One or both? If a WWW-hosted collaborative system was to work, it must scale to encompass this kind of thing from both a technical and social standpoint.
               
              To some extent, I am replaying a discussion here that took place among some of my colleagues (all distributed system researchers, but most of them not genealogists) a couple of years ago. Our conclusion was that a distributed network of genealogical information was probably possible, but there were a lot of pitfalls to be dealt with, both in terms of the technical side and the social side.
               
              Kerry
               
               
            • Paul Blair
              ... Well, if everyone had edit rights, I d still have control. Note that I have control only because its my site. If it belonged to my sister, she would have
              Message 6 of 18 , Feb 11, 2006
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                At 03:35 pm 12-02-2006, you wrote:
                > > All changes comes back to me to approve. That sounds a bit extreme,
                > > but this starts can start a negotiation process.
                >
                >This is my point. The reason it works (for you) is that you remain
                >in control, some are allowed to assist you, while others have merely
                >an observer role. I'd be happy if I remained in control of the data
                >too :-) But would it work for you if you didn't have that control
                >and if everyone had edit rights? Would you be happy to put your data
                >on my phpGedView where I had the control?

                Well, if everyone had edit rights, I'd still have control. Note that
                I have control only because its my site. If it belonged to my sister,
                she would have control. I guess I then have to show people that I'm
                using my power responsibly. If I didn't have control...hmmm....I
                think there would be difficulties.
                >
                >Just out of curiousity ... with phpGedView (which I have never used,
                >but have seen it on a few sites), what happens if I set up one too
                >(over which I retain control as you do) and then we discover that we
                >have a branch of our two families in common. How do we combine the
                >information? Which site holds/controls it? One or both? If a
                >WWW-hosted collaborative system was to work, it must scale to
                >encompass this kind of thing from both a technical and social standpoint.

                Sites like mine depend on GEDCOMs for feedstock. So, if we want to
                share info, we need to share GEDCOMs, I guess. The web site is only a
                mirror of my work, not the prime holding. Changes that come to me get
                transferred by hand back to the master file. Tedious at times, but it
                gives me thinking time...

                At the end of the day, software is only a tool. But remember that I'm
                collecting data for me, to share with whom I choose. I don't own
                anything, nor would I criticise anyone for doing what I might have
                done already. Anyone else can do what I did (probably better!) and
                I'm not shoving my work (and errors) onto them. They have free will.
                >
                >To some extent, I am replaying a discussion here that took place
                >among some of my colleagues (all distributed system researchers, but
                >most of them not genealogists) a couple of years ago. Our conclusion
                >was that a distributed network of genealogical information was
                >probably possible, but there were a lot of pitfalls to be dealt
                >with, both in terms of the technical side and the social side.

                I agree totally. Being able to negotiate is an essential part of all
                this! My mother had a poster in her kitchen about sweet words, and
                not having to eat them tomorrow!

                Regards

                Paul
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