Virtual Pedigree Template (VPT): novel user metaphor for pedigree capture

MedInformaticsMD medinformaticsmd at aol.com
Wed Feb 19 04:46:07 EST 2003

Virtual Pedigree Template (VPT): A novel user interface metaphor for pedigree

Here's documentation on an interesting program to capture pedigrees and family
tree information.  I originally designed it for genealogical and genetics
research in the Middle East, as part of an academic collaboration in genetics
that ended in part due to lack of funding.

The software has sat unused since 1996.  The application, SIGR, uses an
interesting graphical metaphor -- an interactive family tree diagram whose
central focus person can be shifted at will  -- for capturing pedigrees of any
size, and with any number of intermarriages or multiple marriages.  I call it
the "virtual pedigree template" (VPT).  Users found the VPT much easier to
learn and use than approaches that rely on users being able to draw family
trees.  Due to built-in logic to  auto-fill intermediate genealogic links, and
a virtual perspective shift capability, it also seemed to be better-suited for
real-time entry during interview situations of multiple family members.

The UI also helps with the problem of dealing with large, complex pedigree
printouts when trying to trace or edit relationships.

See section 8:  "Virtual Pedigree Template (VPT)"  at URL:


Takes a while to load due to the many screen shots.  Scroll down to Section 8
if the link above does not take you to Section 8 directly.  If enough people
are interested, I may share the source code.

Please share your comments about the software.

S. Silverstein, MD
former faculty, Yale School of Medicine
Medinformaticsmd at aol.com

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