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Paper: A Data Inventory Service for the Virtual Observatory
Volume: 314, Astronomical Data Analysis Software and Systems XIII
Page: 319
Authors: McGlynn, T.; Lee, J.; Hanisch, R.; Greene, G.; O'Mullane, W.
Abstract: We describe a Data Inventory Service (DIS) that uses Virtual Observatory protocols to discover, organize and present astronomers with a rapid precis of what is known about a given region of the sky. The DIS queries a dynamic registry of VO resources to discover potential sources of information, queries them on behalf of the user and then saves and organizes the results for display.

In addition to providing a quick mechanism for getting information about a region, the DIS also provides a mechanism through which these data can be sent directly into analysis tools or downloaded to the users machine.

When a data provider registers a new data resource in a data registry, the DIS will find it automatically for any subsequent requests. Since the DIS caches results from services, users can quickly browse catalog and image results. Cached results are maintained for several days, so when a region of the sky is of particular interest, e.g., immediately after a gamma-ray burst, the cache results may be available immediately to all, not just the first user to query for them.

The DIS is built on top of early protocols developed as part of the US National Virtual Observatory effort, the Cone search and Simple Image Access protocols, and uses the VOTabe format extensively. As additional and more sophisticated protocols become available, the DIS will become a more powerful interface to distributed archives and catalogs.

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