The Astronomical Information Infrastructure from the End-User Perspective

Sake J. Hogeveen

Astronomical Institute, Utrecht University, Princetonplein 5, P.O. Box 80000, NL-3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Information Technology (IT) today has found so many applications in astronomy, that we may speak of an electronic `Astronomical Information Infrastructure' (AII). At this moment, the AII really is nothing but a collection of disparate services. Over the last few years the collection has grown so large, that it leaves the End-User in a rather desperate state. This paper provides an inventory of End-User problems, regarding network information systems, astronomical software packages, and electronic publishing. Solutions to the problems may be found through the coordination of efforts, and the definition of standards and principles. Examples of what may be achieved are the AstroWeb project, which provides a directory of astronomical IT services, the Starlink project in the United Kingdom, concerning astronomical software packages, and the initiatives of the American Astronomical Society with respect to electronic publishing. The paper also discusses the concepts of a modular client-server system, which may serve as the basic ingredient for a transparent and integrated Astronomical Information Infrastructure.

Sake Hogeveen
Tue Apr 4 22:20:48 GMT+0200 1995