State of The Encyclopedia 9-15-2013

Just how many irises are there? Someday we will be able to answer that question with some precision, but presently there are 55,259 cultivars on the encyclopedia. This is all checklists including the 1949 and the first third of the 1939. Ethel Peckham said in her preface there were 19,000 names in the 39 checklist so presumably we have about 12,500 yet to go. Using that number we could say there are about 68,000 irises. So roughly the list is about 81% complete. We have only really been at this for 4 years. That means we average 10,000-14,000 a year. We may be only a year away.

The road to a great Encyclopedia has had enormous challenges. When we entered the first 15,000 pages we hit a wall. The wiki had to be broken into about 20 webs, and 15,000 files moved, one at a time, to their new location. If it were not for several dedicated individuals helping I could have given up. We were set back a year. Recently we had to move to a new host because the server we were using was not adequate. Luckily I found Tim Valenzuela who could do the move. All the problems were solved. The Encyclopedia is now running quickly.

Is the Encyclopedia successful? How do you define success?

Plant Societies exist, survive, and prosper depending on how well they pursue their reasons for being. Loss of membership indicates either we have strayed from our mission or are communicating it poorly. If Membership is a measure, we are flat. The Society is surviving but not growing and at times seems perilously close to returning to its slow collapse. How well does the Encyclopedia fulfill our mission?.

A huge component of what a plant society does is to provide information. But the world has changed. With the internet information is everywhere. It is easy to throw up one’s hands and say we cannot compete. But the world is hungry for information and if the AIS can be a premier source, it wins. If It does not try, it fails. The Encyclopedia is one way in which we honor this expectation. It has a long way to go before it is as complete as it can be. And It has a long way to go before it will be in tune with the technology that is becoming commonplace in the social world. But I believe we can get there with the Encyclopedia.

This last month and a half, August thru September 15, There were 797,900 views of the encyclopedia. Since this is a slack time, (April thru June being peak), we can confidently expect over 6 million views in a calendar year and that may grow to 8 million by next year. Our continued growth speaks to our providing something that is wanted. But I would be the first to say we can do ten times better. It just takes time and people.

I have crunched some numbers that indicate relative interest levels for each web/type of Iris. Tall-bearded Iris show about 16% of the views/page, while all beardless show about 42% and all bearded Iris other than Tall-bearded show 42%. I can give figures for each group but the leader in views per page is the Species. This is very much what I would expect for a reference in that the less known the group the more likely one would be checking out the information.

The number of images on the Encyclopedia has exceeded 100,000. At first count we included thumbnails which artificially doubled that number. But we now can show how many images are in each web. Even though the average is about two images per page our goal is about 20 images per page. A few pages already have that many, but that also means many have no image. Check out how your favorite group is doing in the table below.

All types of Iris 797,900 55,259 14.4 ... 108,186 1.96

Total Beardless, and all species

146,319 8,584 17.05 12,813 1.43
Aril 9,217 405 22.76 7.8% 493 1.22
Arilbred 39,178 1745 22.46 7.7% 4,058 2.33
Aril + Arilbred 48,395 2150 22. 51 4551 2.12
Border Bearded 27,401 1579 17.35 5.9% 2130 1.35
Intermediates (IB) 46,584 2152 22.64 7.8% 4926 2.29
Miniatures (MTB) 19,880 687 28.90 9.9% 1967 2.86
Standards (SDB) 65,630 4670 14.05 4.8% 9071 1.94
Total Medians 159,495 9088 22.90 18094 1.99
(MDB) 32,603 1396 23.35 8.0% 983 0.70
Tall Bearded 411,088 34,041 12.07 4.14% 67,994 2.00
All Bearded 651,581 46,675 13.95 ..... 91,622 1.96
Japanese 16,119 1550 10.4 3.57% 1084 0.69
Louisianas 27,416 2172 12.6 4.32% 3028 1.39
Pacific Coast 14,643 1082 13.5 4.63% 1003 0.93
Siberians 31,922 1401 22.8 7.82% 3454 2.46
Spurias 15,179 854 17.8 6.11% 1822 2.13
Species Cross 9653 445 21.7 7.44% 346 0.78
Species 31,387 1080 29.1 9.98% 2076 1.92

-- BobPries - 2013-09-19
Topic revision: r4 - 22 Aug 2015, BobPries
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