Is Genealogy 2.0 simply the application of Web 2.0 to genealogy or is it a separate wave of innovation in genealogy software? The version number “2.0″ has been applied to the web and genealogy to indicate a “new release” or “major upgrade” to the way things were done before. This article discusses Web 2.0, Genealogy 2.0, and something I call Web 2.0+Gen.
The term Web 2.0 has been around since 2004 and is defined by wikipedia as the:
“perceived second generation of web-based communities and hosted services — such as social-networking sites, wikis and folksonomies — which aim to facilitate collaboration and sharing between users”
There is much debate over the definition of Web 2.0 and what makes a website “Web 2.0″. According to SEOmoz.org, some of the defining characteristics of Web 2.0 are:
- User generated and/or user influenced content
- Applications that use the Web (versus the desktop) as a platform, in innovative ways
- Similar visual design and shared functional languages
- Leveraging of popular trends, including blogging, social tagging, wikis, and peer-to-peer sharing
- Inclusion of emerging web technologies like RSS, AJAX, APIs (and accompanying mashups), Ruby on Rails and others
- Open source or sharable/editable frameworks in the form of user-oriented “create your own” APIs
Web 2.0 links:
When I search the internet for “genealogy 2.0″, I get a number of sites that talk about the application of Web 2.0 to genealogy. These sites mention social networking and collaboration as key components of Genealogy 2.0. One blog, The Plog: Pytlewski Log, states:
“traditionally genealogy 2.0 has only referred to the new internet based applications that are changing the way we collaborate as a genealogical community”
My view of Genealogy 2.0 is broader than Web 2.0 genealogy application or what I term, Web 2.0+Gen. Maybe it is because I have developed both web applications and Windows client applications. Maybe it is because I see so many areas for improvement and innovation in genealogy software and I don’t want to wait around for Genealogy 2.5 or 3.0. Or maybe it is just the developer in me that wants to avoid tight coupling. But pairing Genealogy 2.0 with Web 2.0 excludes genealogy software that is not web-based. It also seems to focus too much on what Web 2.0 is and not what Genealogy 2.0 could be.
Genealogy 2.0 links:
Expanded View of Genealogy 2.0
Many of these ideas are not new, but have been in the genealogy community for years. The time is ripe for them to materialize as software that will aid genealogists and family historians to do things that they have never been able to easily do before.
An expanded view of Genealogy 2.0 includes the following characteristics:
- Social networking
- Collaboration during research, analysis, and conclusions
- More than just sharing data and results
- Supports sources, information, evidence, and conclusions
- Document-centered data collection
- Standardized source citation (see Evidence Explained)
- Source citation as data not text
- Source provenance
- Information extraction
- Evidence evaluation and weight
- Conclusion recording
- Online data backup
- Community of researchers
- Online data storage or peer-to-peer offline storage
- Data linking and layering, not merging
- Expanded to include not only web-based applications but also desktop and mobile
- Modernizing of GEDCOM or replacement with XML-based format
- The ability to not do anything with genealogy for a year and then start right where I left off without any loss of information or momentum
Now the last point may just be my own personal wish list item, but if a Genealogy 2.0 application included a place to put everthing and kept track of what I have done and what else needs to be done then it would be much easier to continue where I left off.
Genealogy 2.0 Expanded links:
I look forward to your comments and ideas about Genealogy 2.0.