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Member Since 29 Nov 2016
Offline Last Active Apr 29 2017 08:32 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Place names standard

12 January 2017 - 10:18 AM

I just noticed this post and I read it with great interest. I've just introduced place-related features in GedSite and I had to adjust how GedSite handled the ADDR, PLAC, and _PLAC records written to GEDCOM by RM so that GedSite could include mapping service links and support place notes, exhibits, etc.


KFN has commented on some non-standard GEDCOM records in the RM file and I'll throw my two-cents in. I agree that RM and other genealogy project managers should export the most compliant GEDCOM that they can, but we also have to acknowledge that the GEDCOM standard is poorly written and flawed in other ways. Add the usual difficulties and trade-offs involved in developing software and it's not surprising that GEDCOM is the can of worms that it is. Judging the RM GEDCOM content both on adherence to the GEDCOM spec and on the information it provides, I'd give it high marks.


Regarding the main topic of this thread, my primary reaction is that place name standardization is a very challenging problem. This thread includes some discussion of the technical challenges. In my opinion, even if we could wave a magic wand and solve some of those technical problems (like having multiple systems agree on place name standards and formats), we might end up with software we don't want to use. For example, if the introduction/insistence on place name standards interferes somehow with my data entry process, I'd quickly find my way to a different program.


Which leads me to this question: how important is place name standardization? I rarely encounter any real difficulty understanding places in my own data, in source material, or in genealogy reports produced by others. I suspect we have all faced problems where source information is not held where we expect because of jurisdictional changes, but I don't expect genealogy project manager software to solve that problem.


I am not using the Family Search feature. Perhaps I would feel differently if I were. Ignoring the desire to be consistent in the data entry and reporting of place names--which I suspect I share with most if not all of the people reading this thread--why is place name standardization important?