Jai Won Kim (Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics), Gerard Lemson (Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics)


Nowadays geographically distributed collaborations are common in astronomy, and gathering, managing and sharing data among collaborators is becoming an increasingly important and complicated effort. Managing and sharing data requires not only storage, but as the size of the astronomical data grows, so does the importance of (remote) discovery and filtering and possibly analysis and visualization functionalities.

A collaboration of the Max-Planck Digital Library and 5 astronomical Max-Planck institutes is building the Astronomer's Workbench (AWOB). AWOB aims to support collaboration between scientists working on astronomical projects. It will support sharing of data and other scientific resources and will facilitate their eventual publication to the Virtual Observatory.

Here we present the 'FITS Harvester', the component that AWOB will use to manage specifically FITS files. FITS is the most common file format for storing astronomical data. An important task for managing and sharing FITS archives is to allow access to the metadata of many FITS files.
Being a *file* format, FITS by itself is not well suited for searching on metadata.

The FITS Harvester is a tool which extracts header metadata from FITS files and stores them in a relational database. This makes it possible to apply the flexible query capabilities of relational databases to large collections of FITS files.

The special feature of our solution lies in the relational data model we have developed for storing the metadata. Within a single data model we store metadata for FITS file from any instrument, simulation or other source in a uniform, consistent way.

Another advantage of this solution is that the standard query language of relational databases, SQL, can be used for mapping the FITS metadata to special purpose metadata models required by online query protocols such as defined by the IVOA.

In the poster presentation, I present detail on the model and implementation of the FITS Harvester. I provide examples of SQL mapping between the FITS metadata and the metadata required by various IVOA standards including ObsTap, SIAP, and SSAP. I will also give examples how this solution can help sharing data among collaborators within the AWOB environment.

Paper ID: P068

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