International Virtual Observatory Alliance Technical Specifications

The technical specifications defined by the IVOA (International Virtual Observatory Alliance) enable interoperability between and the integration of astronomical archives across the world into an international virtual observatory. They include several data models that act as metadata schemas for particular data types: for example, photometry data, simulation data, space-time coordinates, spectral lines data, spectral data, observational data, and the physical parameter space of astronomical datasets.

These data models are under active development by the IVOA Data Modelling Working Group.

Additional recommendations have been made for metadata concepts and terms necessary for the discovery and the use of astronomical data collections and services.

Extensions

Resource Metadata for the Virtual Observatory

Defines metadata terms and concepts necessary for discovery and use of astronomical data collections and services.

The extension is based on Dublin Core, but with astronomy-specific extensions. Resource Metadata are collected in resource "registries" that are populated and synchronized using the OAI-PMH (Protocol for Metadata Handling). Version 1.12, March 2007. Developed and maintained by IVOA Resource Registry Working Group and NVO Metadata Working Group

Tools

GAVO DaCHS - Data Center Helper Suite

The software that underlies the German Astrophysical Virtual Observatory (GAVO), packaged so that it can be used to set up other Virtual Observatory-compliant data centres.

Saada

A tool for publishing astronomical data files as online databases suitable for integration into the international Virtual Observatory.

Use Cases

Aus-VO - Australian Virtual Observatory

An initiative to provide a distributed, uniform interface to the data archives of Australia's major astronomical observatories, and to archives of astrophysical simulations, as part of the international Virtual Observatory.

Euro-VO - European Virtual Observatory

A project to integrate and enable data analysis techniques over the astronomical archives of Europe, as part of the international Virtual Observatory. 

US Virtual Astronomical Observatory

An initiative to integrate astronomical archives and provide associated research capabilities in the United States as part of the international Virtual Observatory.