Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Seeking Co-coordinator for FHISO Technical Standing Committee

 Seeking Co-coordinator for FHISO Technical Standing Committee

The Family History Information Standards Organisation (FHISO) is seeking an interested and qualified volunteer to serve as Co-coordinator of the FHISO Technical Standing Committee (TSC). The TSC is responsible for the work to achieve FHISO’s substantial technical goals, as expressed by the Board, and it oversees all Technical Projects. The TSC determines the requirements for (scope of work, deliverables, time and resource requirements) and initiates or approves all Technical Project work; directs and/or develops and maintains requisite Project Team Directives; may appoint Coordinators and other Project Team members and assigns other roles as appropriate; it suspends or dissolves Technical Project Teams.
 
The TSC Co-coordinator is a voting member of the FHISO Board of Directors, and serves as Vice-chair of the TSC. The ideal candidate for this position is an individual with expertise in the operation of standards organisations or in coordinating the efforts of multiple project teams.
 
Individuals interested in being considered for this position are asked to submit notice of their interest to the current FHISO Secretary, Andy Hatchett, at agh3rd@fhiso.org. The email should include a brief biography indicating relevant expertise. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 8 June 2013

Family History Information Standards Organisation, Inc. (FHISO) is pleased to announce the appointment of Drew Smith as the first Chair of FHISO, effective 1 July 2013. Drew is currently the Organisational Member Representative to FHISO from the Federation of Genealogical Societies (FGS).

“I am deeply honored to have been given this opportunity by the FHISO Board,” Drew said. “As someone who has made a career in information technology and librarianship, I recognize the critical importance of information standards, and as a long-time genealogist, I understand the needs of the world’s genealogy product and service vendors, repositories, societies, and individuals to collaborate and to share family history information. I look forward to leading an international effort to support the creation of these essential information standards.”

“We are excited to have Drew join us in this leadership role, as it marks a significant milestone in transitioning the organisation from its formative state into an operating standards development body,” said Robert Burkhead, FHISO Acting Chair and Technical Standing Committee Coordinator. “Drew’s knowledge and experience in the industry will serve FHISO’s membership and the entire community well.”

Individuals from FHISO member organisations expressed their own praise and support for Drew’s appointment. “Drew brings an excellent synthesis of a genealogical librarian and an active player in the larger family history community, and I look forward to working with him in his new role,” said D. Joshua Taylor, Lead Genealogist and Business Development Manager – North America for brightsolid online publishing, the creators of findmypast.com.

“Having worked with Drew in various organizations and committees, I believe he is the perfect choice to chair FHISO at this formative time,” said Bruce Buzbee, President of RootsMagic, Inc. “I have seen firsthand his organizational skills and leadership qualities in groups where members may have very different opinions or somewhat different goals.”

Loretto (Lou) Szucs, Vice President of Community Relations for Ancestry.com, had this to say: “Having known and worked with Drew for more than fifteen years, I can’t think of anyone who is better qualified to serve as the first Chair of this important new organization. Drew has consistently shown his outstanding leadership skills in working with family history organizations, libraries, and other historical and technology organizations. As the world’s largest online family history resource, with more than 2.5 million subscribers and more than 11 billion records online, Ancestry.com is proud to be a founding member of FHISO.”

“The appointment of Drew Smith as Chair of FHISO sends a strong signal to all wait-and-see organisations,” said Bob Coret, founder of Coret Genealogie. “FHISO is becoming a strong organisation which, with the recent Call for Papers, is leading the way in developing genealogy and family history information standards. As a Founding Member of FHISO from the Netherlands I’m pleased to hear that Drew Smith also embraces the non-English part of the genealogical community, which reflects the international character of FHISO.”

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. 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).

Drew is a Director of FGS (2008-2013), chair of its Technology Committee, and “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 250 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 upcoming book Advanced Genealogy Research Skills, to be published in September 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.

About FHISO

FHISO is a standards-developing organisation bringing the international family history and genealogical community together in a transparent, self-governing forum for the purpose of developing information standards to solve today’s interoperability issues. To learn more about FHISO, visit http://fhiso.org/. To become a member, visit http://fhiso.org/membership-enquiries/.

Contacts:
FHISO General Enquiries, enquiries@fhiso.org
FHISO Membership enquiries, membership@fhiso.org
FHISO Media Relations, Anthony C. Proctor, acproctor@fhiso.org.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Patrick L. Jones, remarks prepared for the FHISO Panel


On Friday, I had to leave RootsTech early and unfortunately missed the FHISO panel during the Developer Day track. These are the remarks I would have made.
My name is Patrick Jones, I am Senior Director of Security at the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN, https://www.icann.org/). ICANN is a global organization that coordinates the Internet’s unique identifier system (domain names, such as .com, .info and .us; Internet protocol addresses and numbers; and protocol port and parameter numbers). We do this for worldwide public benefit, enabling a single interoperable Internet. ICANN works through a multistakeholder model, facilitating participation by all interested parties, to foster a healthy, stable and resilient Internet ecosystem through coordination and collaboration.
I make these remarks now in my personal capacity, from the perspective of someone who has worked in a multistakeholder environment for the past 13 years and from the perspective of an individual family historian.
Last summer I read the FHISO introductory paper, describing the need for a community-driven effort to develop information standards in the family history space. The premise sounded a lot like the multistakeholder environment in Internet coordination, so I reached out to the organizers, asked some questions and made some suggestions for strengthening the concept. They took those suggestions on board and have continued to grow support for collaborative standards development in the family history environment. It has been great to see some of the largest commercial entities in the space come together with a growing number of genealogical societies. 
Between the members of this panel (Ancestry, brightsolid, FGS and RootsMagic), they host billions of images and records, important historical data that is valuable on its own. But once users add context and connections to that data, it becomes even more valuable – not just to these entities, but for users, who want to be confident the information is secure and stable, and for the greater community who may look for this knowledge in the future. Having an open, collaborative environment for family history information standards strengthens that data, and makes it easier for users to transfer it among operators. This effort may help increase accuracy, stability and interoperability for the larger family history community.
There are two developments in the international arena that make it a good time for FHISO to launch its efforts to a broad audience.
First, in August 2012, the Open Stand initiative (http://open-stand.org/) was announced. This is a joint effort by the Internet Society, Internet Architecture Board, IEEE, Internet Engineering Task Force and the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), supported by hundreds of individuals worldwide. Open Stand promotes a set of principles for modern standards development:
  1. Cooperation
  2. Adherence to principles (due process, broad consensus, transparency, balance, openness)
  3. Collective empowerment
  4. Availability (standards specifications that are accessible to all)
  5. Voluntary Adoption
The Open Stand principles align with the mission of FHISO to bring together stakeholders from the genealogy and family history communities to develop open, international technology standards, and provide an example for the family history community to follow.
The second major development occurred in January 2013. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) published its Vancouver Declaration (see PDF at http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/CI/CI/pdf/mow/unesco_ubc_vancouver_declaration_en.pdf), providing a set of recommendations for a multistakeholder approach to the digital preservation of cultural heritage and historical information and encouraging closer collaboration among international professional associations, regional organizations and commercial enterprises to ensure that recorded information in all its forms is preserved.
FHISO is kicking off at the right time to build from Open Stand, UNESCO’s Vancouver Declaration and other efforts in the greater Internet community as a collaboration point for information standards in the family history space. I look forward to where it is headed next, and I encourage the RootsTech community to look closely at FHISO as an opportunity to work together.
Thank you.
[Thank you from all of us, Patrick.]