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The AstroWeb Database


Computer Sciences Corporation, Space Telescope Science Institute,
3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore MD 21218, U.S.A. (

National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road,
Charlottesville VA 22903-2475, U.S.A. (

Space Telescope - European Coordinating Facility, c/o European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Straße , D-85748 Garching, Germany ( &

Centre de Données astronomiques de Strasbourg, c/o Observatoire Astronomique, 11 rue de l'Université, F-67000 Strasbourg, France (

Observatoire Astronomique, 11 rue de l'Université, F-67000 Strasbourg, France (

Australian National University, Mount Stromlo and Siding Spring Observatories, Private Bag, Weston Creek ACT 2611, Australia


AstroWeb is a new WorldWideWeb (White, 1993) resource providing links to astronomy resources available on Internet and using the Mosaic (Hardin, 1994) client tool. Links are anchors or hypertext references to the listed resources provided through implicit Universal Resource Locators (URLs).

The links provide transparent access to information provided by WorldWideWeb, Gopher (Anklesaria, 1993), Anonymous FTP, WAIS (Fullton, 1993), USENET News, and Telnet services.

This AstroWeb database of resource records is maintained by the authors who are members of the AstroWeb Consortium and located at five institutions: CDS, MSSSO, NRAO, ST-ECF and STScI (see the detailed affiliations above).

Each of these institutions supports a version of the AstroWeb service. The five separate versions have different styles and contents, but all are computed from the same master database, which is coded in an agreed interchange format. Fig. 1 reproduces the top of the CDS AstroWeb home page.

The AstroWeb database merges resource listings that were earlier maintained independently at the five institutions in a effort of providing a unique and more complete resource database. This eliminated also the need to check several different and largely redundant lists.

Structure of AstroWeb documents

Each resource record is categorized and many resources have a paragraph describing the resource and containing links to other records. Different presentations of the master listing are available, sorted by category, Internet domain, protocol and name, and name. There is also a searchable version of the merged resource listing, using a WAIS index.

The database is queried on a regular basis to identify which URLs no longer work and the merged listing is edited to reflect these changes.

Fig. 2 reflects the current statistics of the various categories of entries in the master database (from the NRAO AstroWeb home page). It would be interesting to compare them with the situation by the time this report is read.

Connecting to AstroWeb

Astroweb is available at:

In each site, the successive panels are self-explanatory and provide also links to the other sites.

Contributing to AstroWeb

The AstroWeb database has been designed to facilitate distributed maintenance. The AstroWeb Consortium welcomes also contributions of resource records to the database.

Specific on-line facilities have been made available for this purpose. There are also HTML forms by which new resources can be added (AstroWeb Resource Entry Form) and existing resources can be edited (AstroWeb Database Correction Report Form).

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