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Directives of the Lexicon Exploratory Group

Approved by the Technical Standing Committee and published on 2 October 2014.

1. Mission

The Lexicon Exploratory Group (LexEG) of the Family History Information Standards Organisation, Inc. (FHISO) is tasked with carrying out exploratory work, as defined in section 1.2 of the Technical Standing Committee (TSC) Operations and Policy Manual (O&PM), into common usage and best practices for genealogical terminology in the English language.

The LexEG shall compile a lexicon of terms and concepts in current use in genealogy and other disciplines relevant to FHISO’s work. This lexicon is initially intended to help avoid ambiguity and confusion in the during future FHISO work. The lexicon shall document where a given term has multiple uses, and where multiple terms are used for a single concept. Where possible it shall provide sources for lexicon entries. The LexEG may choose to distinguish best practice from common usage when best practice has been identified by a competent and respected authority external to FHISO.

As other technical groups (TGs) develop recommendations and eventually standards they will need to establish the preferred vocabulary for the concepts in their work. This process will be instigated in TGs other than the LexEG; however the LexEG shall liaise with the other TGs in order to ensure that the preferred vocabulary is:

  1. in line with best practices identified in the lexicon;
  2. used consistently by each TG; and
  3. is unlikely to be confusing by being at odds with common usage.

The LexEG shall maintain a list of FHISO’s preferred terminology together with the status of the work proposing it. This list may be included within the lexicon.

The LexEG shall avoid implying that any choice of preferred terminology is final until it has been used in a FHISO standard that has been published in accordance with section 1.6 of the O&PM.

2. Operation

The LexEG shall ordinarily conduct its business on the public mailing list. The LexEG may, after consultation with the TSC, conduct business or hold meetings in other manners, providing it is consistent with principles of the standards development process given in section 6 of the O&PM.

Although the lexicon may need revision continually, the LexEG are encouraged to work towards publishing a reasonably complete snapshot in the form of one or more Technical Group Notes (TGN) that will provide third parties and other FHISO groups with a stable point of reference for situations where that is desirable.

Work may be prioritised and divided as the LexEG sees fit. If the pattern of work is such that self-contained part of the lexicon (such as the entries on a particular subject) is completed ahead of the whole lexicon, the LexEG are encouraged to publish a TGN as a fascicle of the lexicon.

All deliverables produced by the LexEG shall comply with the policies given in section 5 of the O&PM, and with any style guides that in the future be approved by the TSC or by FHISO’s Executive Committee. The TSC shall maintain as annex A.3 to these Directives a record of all deliverables produced by the LexEG.

The LexEG Coordinator shall keep concise minutes of the decisions made by the LexEG, and other events deemed worthy of record. The LexEG Coordinator should liaise with the TSC to ensure these are made public no more than a month after the events being minuted. This task may be delegated to a Recorder appointed by the LexEG Coordinator.

3. Governance

The work of the LexEG shall be supervised by the TSC and is governed by the policies given in sections 2 and 3 of the O&PM, and section 4 of the TSC Charter. The TSC shall appoint an Coordinator for the LexEG, who shall be identified in annex A.1 of these Directives.

The TSC shall maintain as annex A.1 of these Directives a list of members of the LexEG, which shall distinguish associate and transitional members. The TSC shall inform the LexEG Coordinator of changes to this list. The LexEG Coordinator is responsible for informing the TSC if in the LexEG Coordinator’s opinion a member lapses into or reverts from transitional status. If other formal roles are established in the LexEG, these shall be communicated to the TSC and identified in annex A.1.

All members of the LexEG must abide by FHISO’s Code of Conduct.

4. Potential for a Project Team

The LexEG is an exploratory group and as such does not produce documents which are intended to be accepted by the vote of the full membership of FHISO. At the time the LexEG was organised, its mission was primarily documenting current practice and no need for a voted-on standard was anticipated.

If, however, the LexEG determines that a formal standard lexicon is warranted they may produce a Project Proposal outlining the rationale for such a standards-producing effort together with the scope and directives to which the proposed Project Team(s) would be subject.

Annex A

This annex contains supplementary information that is not formally part of the LexEG Directives but is appended to them for convenience.

A.1. Members

A.2. Assigned CFPSs

A.3. Deliverables produced

The LexEG has not yet produced any deliverables.