It came to our attention that the "Pedigree" functions of this website had been failing (ungracefully) for several weeks or months. The reasons for this were not obvious. At first we considered giving up and bagging the pedigree service. But in the end we managed to get the system running again. It took Steve—who hadn't looked at the software for a dozen years—three long days. We made a few changes to the code that did the trick, but we franky don't really understand why the system broke down in the first place, what had gone wrong, and so we aren't sure why the changes that we made fixed the problem. So it's up and running, but we remain worried.
We launched the OFP website in 2005, and the software behind the pedigree service&mdmash;the "Alfirin scripts"—were last modified in 2004. Websites from that era predate css, html5, and Apache2. It's legacy software, in other words. It may break down again. Before that happens we need to decide whether the effort to continue to maintain the pedigree service is worth the trouble.
If it will help you answer these questions, here is the bottom line: there are approximately 3000 American Soay in the database. As far as we can tell, all British Soay born in the US or Canada from 1990 through 2016 (over 2000), including some of those not registered with the RBST, also are in the database. The OFP website and the various search and other functions on the website are completely open to anyone who wants to use them, whether the person owns Soay sheep, is considering owning Soay sheep, or just wants to learn more about the Soay in North America.
Please send us a note letting us know who you are and how you use the OFP. We have no way to know how many people use the website functions, so unless we hear from you, we cannot assess whether the website is still viable. If you know folks who use it but don’t see this note, please spread the word and ask them to contact us. If it turns out the website continues to be used a lot, as it was in the early years, we will do our best to get it back up and running.
Please send your responses to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for your patience and help!
Steve and Priscilla Weaver
The Open Flockbook Project
Best described as an informal, but active group of like-minded breeders and enthusiasts, the Soay community in the United States and Canada is open and available to both current owners of Soay sheep and anyone else interested in our special variety of small rare sheep. The loosely knit structure of the Soay community in North America has three parts:
Farther afield, there are additional resources available to North American-based Soay breeders, including registration of British Soay through the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (www.rbst.org.uk) and membership in the U.K.-based Soay Sheep Society (www.soaysheep.org).