Ownership-structure

A few words on our ownership-structure.

iwdb.org is created and maintained by breed-enthusiasts. Some are very central within breed-clubs, others are not. When we started out on this adventure, we wanted to create a resource for the whole breed. It’s very important for us that one individual can’t close down the whole thing or decide to keep the data private for whatever reasons. Free and open for all is what we are aiming for, both now and in the future.

To make sure we had a model which would secure this, we looked at several different models for ownership. In the beginning we wanted to offer the database to the breed-bodies for ownership and maintenance. What we didn’t consider was how different breed-bodies may have different aims and policies. We were afraid that such an ownership-structure would lead to chaos, endless discussions and a situation where nothing would be done. This would not be favourable for the breed or for the database.

We then came up with the idea of creating an informal trust to run the database. We had previously set up a core group of volunteers, but needed to take ownership issues out of that group and into the hands of a group of trustees.

The trustee group is self-recruiting. If one trustee leaves the group for any reason, the rest elects a new trustee. The group of trustees are all founders of the system and have been with us since we started the project. They have all proven their interest in the breed and their unselfishness in this work.

The current trustees are Per Arne Flatberg (Norway), Maura Lyons (Scotland), Edita Bérésova (Czech republic), Jean Timmins (England) and Pernille Monberg (Denmark)

You will probably notice that we are all based in Europe. Simultanously we are stressing that this is an international initiative. We do have contributors on all continents (except Antarctica, where we don’t know of any Irish Wolfhounds). However, the initiative for the database was done in Europe, which is probably why we elected all trustees from that continent. We don’t think there’s any risk of a European bias, though. Data-collection is done through all possible sources, and if anything we have been more concerned about getting data from continents where we don’t live than from Europe.

Free and open for all

We are very excited about finally launching iwdb.org. The core-group have spent the better part of the last 18 months collecting data, coordinating efforts, programming the site, discussing what we want to achieve and generally try to make the best site we can. We have decided to launch the site at Crufts 2016, which means it will be open for everybody from march 13th.

The main slogan for all of us during these 18 months has been “free and open for all”. We believe the data we’ve collected belongs to the breed, not to any individuals. Anybody interested in irish wolfhounds should be able to do proper pedigree-research, and scientists should have proper tools to research the breed’s history. That’s the main reason we did this.

Eventually we became more ambitious. Our big goal is to collect data on every irish wolfhound that has ever lived. It’s quite impossible of course. A lot of information is lost through history, but thankfully lots is preserved by breed enthusiasts, from captain Graham and onwards. At least all information that’s published should be in our database.

Today we have collected data on more than 135.000 irish wolfhounds. It’s way more than we had dreamt that we could achieve and we’re truly thankful to everybody who helped us achieve this.

Anyone can send data to us through numerous options on iwdb.org or just drop us an email.

Thank you for your support!

Sources of information

Our database includes more pedigrees than any other irish wolfhound database. We currently have pedigrees of more than 135,000 dog online. Many people have asked us where we found all the data. One of our goals is to be very open about what we’re doing, so we thought we’d share some info on this with you.

Kennel Club databases

Some kennel clubs have public databases of their registries. These are a very valuable source of information, and we’ve harvested those as much as we could. When in doubt, we always try to check with the kennel club where the dog was first registered. This info is always assumed to be correct (even if it isn’t). In the future, we’d love to see more kennel clubs open up their studbooks in this way. For this project, we have used the databases of UK, Netherlands, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Australia, New Zealand and to a certain degree the United States. In some other countries, individuals with access to closed databases have volunteered information as well.

Yearbooks

Some breed-clubs publish yearbooks with all registered litters and imports that year. We encourage those who don’t to start doing that, and make them available to everybody. For iwdb.org we have been through yearbooks of Canada, UK, Germany, Japan and to a certain degree the US. In Austria, the kennel club has published yearbooks digitally for the last few years.

Breeders

Breeders are an important source of information, especially those who keep a kennel diary. Numerous breeders have contributed with their data during our data collection process. We are very thankful to everybody.

Catalogs

Show catalogs are traditionally a good source of information. We have been through thousands of those in order to find dogs missing from our database.
Some breed-fanatics keep their own, private databases. We have been fortunate enough that some of those have given us the data they’ve collected through many decades.

Books

Over the years, many books with Irish wolfound pedigrees have come to market. We’ve been through all we could get our hands on, adding those dogs that weren’t available from other sources.

All these contributions make a huge dataset. We have been fortunate to have a large group of volunteers who are entering all these data into the database as well. Without them, we would have a less complete system.