Stigmergy, FamilySearch and The Diderot Network

Stigmergy (from Wikipedia The principle is that the trace left in the environment by an action stimulates the performance of a next action, by the same or a different agent. In that way, subsequent actions tend to reinforce and build on each other, leading to the spontaneous emergence of coherent, apparently systematic activity.

Wikipedia is a "Stigmergic" process. A contributor lays down some knowledge and other contributors adjust and add to that knowledge.

Familysearch The trees and person database are built by millions of contributors that add to and improve a massive database of knowledge.

Denis Diderot Was a philosopher during the mid 1700's. He created an Encyclopedia put together by inviting "Experts and Common Men (and Women) to contribute.

The Diderot Network The network invites domain experts, developers, business specialists etc.. and others to contribute to a body of software modules that will provide knowledge and functionality covering many fields of endeavor. We have named the network after Diderot because of his success in bringing together the large amount of knowledge from experts and others. [Note 1]

What it does Family Search only makes information about living persons available to the creator of the Person's record. This results in much duplication of living persons records and Family Search Id's.

The Diderot Network is able to keep in a simple and secure way details of living persons in a personal datalocker.[Note 3] Users of the network, for example parents and grandparents can add records for a child from before birth until the child is old enough or interested enough for responsibility for the datalocker to be handed over.

The datalocker is used to keep medical history and any events and documents of interest in the persons life. The datalocker can be kept in sync with the individuals private family tree kept on Family Search. Upon the ultimate death of the person, the Family Search Tree can be automatically updated with the details which would then become public.

A living persons data, while private on Family Search, can be shared on The Diderot Network.

For example, both the Mothers and Fathers family can be authorized to contribute to the data store as well as medical practitioners, trusted friends and relatives etc. This is not of course a facility available on FamilySearch due to privacy considerations.

The Diderot Network enables controlled access to datalockers using desktop or mobile devices. The datalockers can communicate with each other, encrypted and authenticated, and as a result users can communicate with each other (via their datalockers) in a safe and secure manner. [Note 2]

The genealogical uses of the network are only a fraction of the abilities of the network, as the network is based on modular java modules which are called "Features". They can be developed to meet current and future needs and requirements of users.

How I built it The project started out as accounting for small business but grew over a period of 10 years. Experience with medical documentation and business processes has led to the framework evolving to simplify and reduce the repetitive input of data.
A rule of the internet is "Once data is entered once, it should never have to be entered again". This and "Simplicity" have been drivers in the projects development.

Challenges I ran into Developing software as a lone founder and coder prior to developing relationships with other contributing developers.
Developing for "Simplicity" and "Modularity" is much harder and time consuming than usual mainstream software.

Obtaining patient medical records from practitioners and hospitals is virtually impossible without applying significant pressure and having enduring patience..

Accomplishments that I'm proud of Developing a very simple user interface and framework suitable for the young as well as the aged and disabled.

What I learned After many years looking for suitable software, I am now confident I have the tools to achieve the goals I have set for my project. My chosen tools are Java, OSGi, Eclipse, Bndtools and Vaadin.

What's next for The Diderot Network Recruitment of many collaborators. Development of many features. Introduction of the Diderot Network to a mass market.

Note: 1. The network is to be monetized by a small annual fee expected to be as low as USD 5. The actual software can be installed on as many systems as required at no cost. All users have to pay is the annual fee. All existing and future software/features will be free. The majority of income will be used to pay contributors to the network, in effect creating a system designed to grow organically with a solid financial base.

2. Every user and locker receives a new security certificate (X509) automatically each year.

3. A Diderot Datalocker is in effect a personal cloud server that runs on a computer in the users home or business. If in the unlikely event that a hacker gains access to a locker, only one set of data is at risk. Not like public cloud servers where hackers gain access to millions of records in one hit.

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posted an update

Speaking of developing teens interest in genealogy, my wife has suggested that having details of antique jewelry in a teens datalocker would certainly arouse interest with teen girls. The security aspects of the datalocker would be important in this case. Similar inheritable items applicable to boys would also arouse interest, medals, war history and so on... Details of books, including antique Bibles and other significant documents would also fit into this category.

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posted an update

The reasoning behind genealogy for teens is that features can be developed that appeal to teens with subtle introduction to personal early life events and info about ancestors

An example is having a secret diary feature which acts as a pull factor to encourage teens to have their own datalocker.

Their datalocker can be handed to them by a parent or grandparent and it will already contain quite a bit of their own history and that of parents, grandparents etc..

Hopefully this will arouse interest for them to venture further into the world of genealogy.

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posted an update

There is some confusion about the nature of my project. 1.The datalocker is software that runs on your computer. 2.It is cross platform and runs on windows, osx and linux, although the current installer at present is only for win64. 3.When installed the data locker runs as a service/daemon and survives system reboot. 4.Although the user interface as submitted is very simple, the appearance can be "complicated" with different css style sheets and backgrounds.

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posted an update

The demo code in the installer I have submitted mainly covers the ultra simple interface and some clues to how features are activated. I was unsure if the project submitted was to become available to the public. As the project has not yet been released and the submission process only seems to provide public listing I have kept the submitted demo/prototype very simple.

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