Photographic Plate Libraries at European Astronomical Observatories
Keywords:Astronomical Photographic Plates, Plate Library, Astroinformatics
This paper presents the efforts to organize photographic plate libraries at European astronomical observatories and institutions. The Wide-Field Plate Database project, launched in 1991, has been collecting data about the plates, including plate archives, plate index catalogue data extracted from the logbooks, and digitized plate images. Developing further the WFPDB project, we intend to complete the high-resolution digitization of the plates (in standardized FITS file format) and a suitable digitalization of the catalogues and logbooks (in JPEG and TIFF), with flatbed scanners, and also to organize links to the relevant scientific research papers. At present about 250000 plates have been digitized and await implementation of online access. The main idea is to build an Astro-Multimedia Library, based on the latest methods of Computer Science, in particular on Multiresolution Analysis techniques, which allow for efficient representation of image scans at different resolutions.