Originally, Astro-Databank was created by the American astrologer Lois Rodden, who collected most of the data in a life long effort. To achieve quality control of data used for astrological research and for serious astrological discussion, Lois created the Rodden Rating system. She published a series of books with well research charts and biographical information which she had collected over the years. In the 1980ies the question of 'computerising' astrological data collections came up, and ISAR started such a project, about which there is more information here: History of the Rodden-ISAR Databank.
In 1995 Lois Rodden was joined by the programmer Mark McDonough. Together they formed the AstroDatabank company and created the PC software program 'AstrodataBank' which had excellent research features to work with the database.
After the death of Lois Rodden in 2003 the software sales declined, while the cost of maintaining, correcting and expanding the huge database remained high. Despite all efforts by its owners, it became difficult to maintain the data collection activities. The company changed ownership in 2005, but faced a critical situation in the summer of 2008 and was about to close down.
Alois Treindl, founder and owner of Astrodienst AG in Switzerland, had been an admirer of Lois Rodden's and Mark McDonough's work since many year. When he heard about the problems Astrodatabank was having, he stepped in by acquiring AstrodataBank before it could fail.
Astrodienst had since a long time been committed to provide extensive free astrological services on the Internet. Astrodienst provided calculation modules for astrological software developers since the 1980ies; since 1997 it is the creator and sponsor of the open source and free software project Swiss Ephemeris, which provides most precise calculations for developers of astrological software.
Purpose of this wiki project
The Astro-Databank wiki publishes the huge collection of astrological data collected by Lois Rodden and her cooperators, so that these data can be used for astrological research, for astrological publications and for serious astrological discussion.
The access to the data for these purposes is free of charge.
Astrodienst is committed to preserve the idealistic spirit of Lois Rodden and to continue her work. The Astro-Databank has been transformed into an open wiki project. We are now forming a community of volunteer data collectors and maintainers, who will expand and maintain this uniquely valuable collection of astrological information in the future.
The first public release of the Astro-Databank wiki is scheduled for Thursday, 12 march 2009, at 20:15 (8.15 pm) in Zürich, Switzerland. At this time the wiki with its full content will be opened to the public, and the start will be announced on the website www.astro.com which receives over 170'000 visitors every day.
Currently the Astro-Databank wiki is a read-only wiki. The update and maintenance of the database is still done outside the wiki, with the original Astrodatabank software and the continued help of the data editor Pat Tagliatelo.
Because this is a complex database and not just a text-based wiki like Wikipedia, the regular Mediawiki software is not sufficient for editing or entering the data. Alois Treindl and his team are working on special Mediawiki extension software, which will allow editing the database content directly via the wiki web interface. This development will take a few months. When the online editing tools are ready, Astrodienst will begin to form a community of reliable and qualified database editors, who collect and verify birth information, write biographies, and new data to the database and maintain the existing content.
Please see the copyright page for the precise conditions under which the data in this wiki may be used.