This is more a feature request. I want to start a web site where people can share their family info. If they have a gedcom file, I would rather they email that to me and let me merge it, but I would also like users to be able to enter online. For example , a county family tree project where anyone can log in and enter their family tree info. When a new entry is created, a quick search to make sure it isn't a duplicate.
What's your criteria to identify it as a duplicate?
Seeing how there could possibly be two different people with the same name, there would have to be some interaction with the person entering the data. I have come to the conclusion that everyone around here is related some how. LOL Having a huge online family tree would be a great resource for researchers. Was even thinking about hosting something like this at our County Library site.
Gedview, as it is now, is a great app, but requires a lot of php knowledge and server experience plus a lot of hands on maintenance. Wish I could find something just a bit more simple to use and maintain.
I doubt we'll ever have a version of the current software that allows the uninitiated to meddle and muddle with the core setup. However, it may be possible to clone PGV's features or create a module that allows the upload and addition of an authorized person's gedcom. This will take someone with programming experience and a similar interest to yours.
The current configuration could perhaps be modified to allow the creation of an unrelated person to an existing tree and then branch from there (county-type site houses all residents of that county and their relations, or an obituary-type site, as these already exist).
As to your comment on PGV in general, for a server-based, web-interactive program, the latest enhancements have made PGV nearly idiot-proof for installation and maintenance. The Install Wizard walks you through the install and setup and installing a stable release requires little to no maintenance. Perhaps you could be more specific in your comment so any issues you have could be resolved, explained or disputed?
As to entering of INDI's and looking for possible duplicates, Daniel Kionka's outstanding java program GDBI has a feature which several of us have used and there is an outstanding RFE for inclusion of a similar feature into PGV. Similar to autocomplete, but occurring during the entry SAVE period, if it discovered possible duplicates (some magic matching here), it would provide a list of possible choices and let you select one, or none. If none, it proceeded to add the new INDI. It matched when adding a wife or child too. Pretty sweet and we're hopeful that this feature will, at some time or other, be included with PGV.
I haven't setup phpGenview on a live site. Just played with it. First I had to install Apache, php and MySQL. No easy feat and took days. I have no server experience and surprised that I even got it to work at all.
To get phpGenview to work, a SQL database must be setup. So I'm assuming that I would have to get my site provider to do that for me if I were to use phpGenview on my live site.
Just uploading or adding a gedcom to phpGenview took me days to get it to work. I kept getting duplicate files upload. I kept getting all kinds of errors when importing a gedcom from Family Tree Maker. Since I had no clue what the error meant, I didn't know what to click to continue most of the time. I just clicked OK on everything.
Personally, I find phpGenview way too complicated to use and seems to be aimed at very experienced genealogists and web designers. Most of the people visiting my site are not experienced in family research and most are even computer novices. I've been using computers almost 30 years and I find the phpGenview opening page overwhelming.
Now if I could find a something like phpGenview that has an interface more like a genealogy application like the older FTW or Legacy Family Tree, I would buy it.
PGV can easily run locally, for your personal use, but was intended to promote the colloborative nature of the web, using a standard web interface, to allow novice users to assist in data entry once configured by the site's admin. Many features have been added to make it even easier, but its primary design function remains its original mission.
For local setup, it is not natural to have an http server and database programs running as that was never their intention either. However, several extremely easy programs exist to make installation on a personal, local machine a snap. XAMMP, MAMP and LAMMP (depending on your OS platform) are one-step, self installing web-server environments. Most are self-configuring so when you start your machine, the server starts too.
A brief read of PGV's installation procedure with v4.2.2+ would have allowed you to install PGV into the above environment with little effort and there is no reason why, if you read the WIKI instructions, you should have a need for multiple attempts.
It appears that you didn't read about PGV before choosing it. PGV is not and never will be a simply desktop-type program install for a local machine, and never will be. Buy such a program if that was your intention, as again, PGV's stated mission statement was furthering collaborative genealogical effforts via a web interface.
I'm aware that wasn't the intended use. I was running local to test it out. Just checking out the interface and how it worked. I did use XAMPP and getting PGV installed took a lot more than 'little effort' on my part. I had no intention of using it as a desktop solution. I already own Family Tree Maker. I'm looking for a web application for my genealogy WEB site.
I spent days researching and looking for online gen apps. I read that phpGenview would let users 'edit' which is what I needed. Unfortunately, it doesn't allow users to add a new unrelated individual or family. Hate to burst your bubble, but phpGenview is neither easy to install or easy to use from my point of view.
I may check out phpMyfamily, but I don't think it allows editing.
I'm very new to PGV also and I was, at first, in the same mind blowing state you are in. I had used several other Genealogical products before PGV and the changes my brain had to make hurt for a while. But I kept it up and have learned to really like the software.
I have no server experience but I will agree with Stephen 100% about your setup. I learned about XAMPP a few years ago for WIKI project I wanted to demo for my boss. And I love its install and setup which took no time at all. I actually installed the whole thing on a memory stick and demo web based software ideas regularly.
As far as Genealogy, your county genealogy idea is a good one and I've discussed similar ideas with genealogy clubs in my community.
All collaborative ventures need (probably require) a moderator, be it a website wiki, blog, PGV, or even a club or business meeting. This individual(s) must be able to take information / idea / knowledge of others and make sure they are organized and documented correctly. IMHO a good set of FAQs for your site, with a documented "best practices" or guidelines for entry are a must. The users of the site don't need to be genealogists but for the site to be a valuable tool, good genealogy practices should be followed. In my case regardless of the data someone gives me if they don't include simple sourcing information I, with regret, don't put the information into my "official" database. I keep the info off to the side for additional research or corroborative evidence later.
I love collaboration ventures, but they do have some downsides. The PGV feature to require a moderator / Admin to review entries is very useful and important. I'm only a beginner with PGV and I have not gone live with PGV yet. I will probably not go live for some time until I develop a good set of "best practices" and a "guidelines and procedures" documents. Just my 2 cents worth.
<<Unfortunately, it doesn't allow users to add a new unrelated individual>>
Yes it does. The link is on the admin page, and users with site-admin or gedcom-admin permission can see this page. If you want to give all your users this permission, it is a trivial job to copy this link to the "MyGedcom" menu.
The link is "hidden" here for a reason. Users had a tendency to use it in preference to adding "linked individuals", and you end up with lots of unlinked records and no idea how they should be linked together.
Thanks for the idea of moving the link. May not use it, but in a community based, single GED environment the idea has some legs. My less elegant idea was to enter the user as an INDI and let them go up the tree from there for there family.
ggrussell, Seems you are saying exactly what I just got done saying on another message string:
>>"Personally, I find phpGenview way too complicated to use and seems to be aimed at very experienced genealogists and web designers. Most of the people visiting my site are not experienced in family research and most are even computer novices. I've been using computers almost 30 years and I find the phpGenview opening page overwhelming.
>>Now if I could find a something like phpGenview that has an interface more like a genealogy application like the older FTW or Legacy Family Tree, I would buy it.
Your experiencing just what I did….it has taken many hours to figure out how to enter data and I keep finding there are better ways to do things and I am sure there are many things I still haven't figured out yet.
When I tried to get other family members (including a computer genius) to enter data they were overwhelmed and gave up. If a new person can't find out how to login and start entering data in 5 minutes they are going to give up and never try again. There should be a way to put a GENI type front end on PGV so people can immediately and easily become involved. If online input is limited to people with a strong desire to help that will overcome the learning curve it will prevent getting help from those you most need to help.
Glad I am not the Lone Stranger on this!
Your SF ID email isn't working. Send me your email addy and I'll send you one of several EXCEL-GEDCOM programs that exist.
Thanks, lew. I'm sure we aren't alone. LOL I'm very impressed with what phpGenview can do. Just wish it was a lot easier to use.
I also took a look at GDBI which is much closer to what I'm used to, but still a tad much. If phpGenview had an interface more like GDBI, I think it would be friendly to new users.
> Having a huge online family tree would
> be a great resource for researchers.
Do you really think so? Have you looked at the garbage that some people think constitutes genealogy on sites like ancestry, genesreunited etc? Even an important site like IGI is absolutely FULL of errors. I much prefer to see a smaller, well managed, properly referenced, and ACCURATE tree.
> If phpGenview had an interface more like GDBI
Before you add (another) Feature Request for a different interface, have a look at what has already been requested. Lots of people have proposed all sorts of different interfaces, leading me to the conclusion that whatever is created will not satisfy everyone. (ps - the name is PhpGedView, NOT phpGenview. The difference is actually quite significant in understanding the origins of PGV and what it aims to be). Personally I find the interface of GDBI one if its worst features - but that is just my taste. It does have other parts I like very much, but no longer use as PGV now fully satisfies all my needs.
Many people over the years have raised all these same points, and many of their suggestions HAVE been implemented. In thinking about these issues, and I don't necessarily disagree totally with them, I (personally) feel this should be the standard and very genuine response:
***Yes, we know PGV has its short comings, and we welcome your feedback. The developers will undoubtedly continue to work on such matters as and when time permits, in the hope that one day all your desires will be met. In the meantime, if you wish to contribute to the development efforts, your expertise will be very gratefully received.***
> I much prefer to see a smaller, well
> managed, properly referenced, and
> ACCURATE tree.
Well managed may be possible, but ACCURATE? Then you may as well not share your info or allow others to edit it. It would be impossible for single person to monitor and manage a collaborative effort AND make sure all the data is ACCURATE. If I was to only use 'accurate' info in my family file, it would be extreme small. Genealogy by its very nature can not be 100% accurate with so many missing gov records. Even with spotty records and family 'hear say', I can still only go back 3 generations on my mother's paternal line.
> Personally I find the interface of
> GDBI one if its worst features
Each to their own. That's what drives the industry to better itself. Personally, I won't be using PhpGenview (just letters to me) until it's easier for the rest of us to use.
Thats OK, but you missed the most important of my three ideals:
This at least allows us to understand the degree of accuracy claimed, and yes, of course there are degrees.
>>Your SF ID email isn't working. Send me your email addy and I'll send you one of several EXCEL-GEDCOM programs that exist.
How weird… I checked and the email address tied to this account is just fine. I sent myself two test emails and both arrived?
What kind of error do you get when trying to email my registered address?
lew AT linkuphosting DOT com
(same as affiliated with this account)
I think we all strive for 100% accuracy in our FTs… but let me pose this option…
Would you like to have A or B?
A. 40,000 100% accurate records, and 10,000 90% records
B. 40,000 100% accurate records?
I would go for option A and over time the 10K can be worked on, but I would rather have it there less than accurate then not at all.
I see genealogy as a science. The scientist (genealogist) advances a theory that they then go out and prove. A genealogist is not always 100% accurate, but they always are in the pursuit of accurate re-creatable information. If someone enters that a child exists in a family they should give some reference that says this is true. This way when another family crosses paths with mine I can look at the reference and decide to use this new info in my database. I do look at every reference and when possible look at the actual reference documents before the new information is added to the database. I do use notes in my genealogy files to document other individuals "finds" or "hear says".
I can, if I use the controversial work of one genealogist, take one side of my family back to 899AD. I don't use the information in my official genealogy. I do in my family book make reference to the linage. It's fun to use this speculation, but not genealogy (in my mind).
Garbage in - Garbage out. If you routinely allow unsourced, copied or even plagiarized data to be added to your work, your work takes on the characteristics of the little that may have supplemented your efforts. Sure, there may be errors, but even though should be referenced so that someone else can use the supplied source to research and perhaps confirm or deny its credibility at a later date. In the mean time, a more accurate portrayal of the fact or event may have been determined by independent research, to which you were not privy or too occupied to discover due to a limited amount of time or access limits.
When I discover families simply collected and entered into a GEDCOM that may be useful to my own relations, I may add it to my efforts, but I will also reflect its source and more importantly, I will try to confirm or deny its veracity by locating supporting materials - census, burial records, published books, city/county/state/federal collections of documents, photographs, other sourced gedcoms, related family members who may have a personal interest as a direct descendant, phone calls, letters, emails, facebook and much more. It takes an incredible amount of time, talent and effort to locate some of these details, but each day I have success stories in determining a maiden name and middle name and true GIVN name rather than a reflected nickname and more. And, with over 300 users and 15 truly active users (several postings each week), I still review every entry for compliance with my site's data entry conventions.
Does this mean we have no errors. Of course not. Does it mean we have no formatting problems - emphatically no, but we work on rectifying these every day.
Do we have casual users who complain about difficulty in entering information. Occasionally, but most is avoided through the extensive approval process and rigorous training as well as the explicit instructions, directions and help we provide in our FAQs and email support messages, over and beyond PGV's excellent help menu and WIKI. However, we will not blame PGV for shortcomings of users who won't even learn to add a subject to an email, or who refuse to take a moment to read what we provide. Three strikes and you're out here as we don't have the time to try to repair entry errors that consistently fall short of standards. If 'banished', we ask that they send information by letter/snail mail or call us to discuss family.
Can improvements in the software be made? Sure, and given the posting activity in SVN, PGV has proven record of modification based on admins' needs. It, like any open source effort, requires assistance from everyone. Well-defined suggestions, rigorous testing, assistance to other admins to accelerate their learning curve of the already thousands of existing functions, thorough bug reporting, wiki additions and clarifications and hopefully some volunteer programming help is always appreciated. If PGV isn't your cup of tea (after you use the program for a reasonable test period), so be it. Move on to something that is and our best wishes. Some of us who've been here from nearly the start and others that just recently discovered the power of PGV will have plenty to keep us busy, doing what's necessary to improve this program.
kfnordan has it exactly right. Source referencing is the key. Without it the data might just be meaningless guesswork. Who would know? Thats my bottom line.
> When I discover families simply
> collected and entered into a GEDCOM
> that may be useful to my own
> relations, I may add it to my efforts,
> but I will also reflect its source and
> more importantly, I will try to
> confirm or deny its veracity by
> locating supporting materials -
> census, burial records, published
> books, city/county/state/federal
> collections of documents, photographs,
> other sourced gedcoms, related family
> members who may have a personal
> interest as a direct descendant, phone
> calls, letters, emails, facebook and
> much more
You totally missed what I am trying to achieve and that is collaborative community effort. This has NOTHING to do with my personal research although I admire your veracity in achieving perfection. I have NO DOUBT that most users will not post their sources. Just like any other online 'source' (like Ancestry.com, etc.), the results of this effort will be full of errors. Doesn't really matter as the goal here is sharing of information and bringing the community together. Any genealogist should know that info taken from ANY source should be proven to their own satisfaction before entering it into their own database.
If you are teh moderator of this forum, please feel free to close the thread. I have gotten the info that I needed.
What I would suggest is to develop WIKI site instead of using PGV. I say this because WIKIs or also CMS, allow for individuals to write data that they think others may like to use / have then the others can comment on the data. If the data is useful it become informative and everyone is happy.
It seems we have different purposes for our databases as it should be, just like ggrussell has a different purpose than I do, but have both encountered the learning curve issue and the willingness to have some bad data if it also means getting some good data.
I don't quit eating tuna even though I know I might encounter a dolphin.
Log in to post a comment.