GEDCOM X defines an open data model and an open serialization format for exchanging the components of the genealogical proof standard.
The following is a snippet of Mark Tucker's Genealogy Research Process Map, used with permission. Click on the image to download the full map with text, or download it directly from thinkgenealogy.com:
The intent of GEDCOM X is to define a standard for modeling and exchanging the components of the research process that comprise the genealogical proof standard:
- Search Reliable Sources
- Cite Each Source
- Analyze Sources, Information, and Evidence
- Resolve Conflicts
- Make a Soundly-Reasoned Conclusion
(Note that a model for defining research goals is not currently within the scope of the core GEDCOM X project, but it might be a good candidate for a future extension.)
Search Reliable Sources
Since many sources (especially original sources) don't have a digital form, GEDCOM X defines a standard way to describe sources. GEDCOM X also provides for the means to exchange sources that do have a digital form such as digital images. For more information about describing sources, see the conceptual model specification.
Cite Each Source
GEDCOM X defines a mechanism for referencing sources and their associated descriptions. A GEDCOM X source is cited by creating a description of the source that includes all the fields that are needed to property cite the source. As evidence is gathered, references to the source descriptions are maintained.
Analyze Sources, Information, and Evidence
GEDCOM X supports the notion of an analysis document that can be used to capture a researcher's analysis. Analysis documents can be cited like any other source. GEDCOM X also supports creating documents for abstracts, extracts, and transcriptions of sources. Evidence can also be extracted from a source in the form of structured data for persons, events, and relationships.
Conflicts are resolved as evidence is gathered, analyzed, and a decision is made to uphold or reject specific evidence. GEDCOM X provides a controlled vocabulary for expressing a researcher's confidence about certain evidence and provides a way to mark specific data as rejected. As data is upheld or rejected, a user's reasoning can be captured in analysis documents.
Make a Soundly-Reasoned Conclusion
As data is collected and interpreted, it is organized into logical structures that correspond to a researchers working conclusions for persons, relationships, and events. Each working conclusion may reference the analysis that was done to arrive at the conclusion. These data structures are defined as part of the GEDCOM X Model.
If you're new here, try the Self Guided Tour of the project, which is designed to help you feel comfortable participating in the project. If you'd rather not go through a tour, the Community page pretty much summarizes it.
To learn how to produce and consume GEDCOM X from your application, take a look at the Developers Guide.
Some of you may actually enjoy reading formal specifications. If this is you, click here for the specs.
If you've got a question that starts with "How does GEDCOM X handle...", try browsing through the Recipe Book.
The Formal Specs
There are five distinct specifications that comprise GEDCOM X. Some specifications build on others. The formal specifications are maintained in a version-controlled and access-controlled repository. For more information see Specs.