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Astronomy archive for Africa

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The South African Virtual Observatory has announced the release of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) mirror in Cape Town. The ADS is a digital library and although it has been mirrored around the world, this is the first time it has been deployed in Africa.

The South African Virtual Observatory (SAVO) on behalf of the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) and the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) has announced the release of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO)/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) mirror in Cape Town, South Africa. A mirror site is an exact copy of another, remote web site on the World Wide Web. This is the first mirror of this important astrophysics data archive in Africa.

The SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS) is a digital library portal for researchers in astronomy and physics, operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) under a NASA grant. The ADS maintains three bibliographic databases containing more than 9.2 million records: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Physics, and arXiv e-prints. The main body of data in the ADS consists of bibliographic records, that are searchable through highly customisable web-based query forms, and full-text scans of much of the astronomical literature that can be browsed or searched via ADS full-text search interface. Integrated in its databases, the ADS provides access and pointers to a wealth of external resources, including electronic articles, data catalogues and other archives. This archive has been mirrored at major data centres around the world, but this marks the first time it has been deployed to Africa.

The URL for South African ADS mirror is: http://saaoads.chpc.ac.za/

This site is hosted by the Centre for High Performance Computing (CHPC) on behalf of the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) Virtual Observatory initiative. This is the first of the major data archives that SAVO plans to mirror at CHPC under their Data Intensive Research Infrastructure of South Africa (DIRISA) and this effort was a vital step in the process of learning to host large data archives. The two teams involved are from the CHPC: Happy Sithole, Jeff Chen, Dorah Thobye Eric Mbele Sakhile Masoka and Meshack Ndala and from the SAAO: Sudhanshu Barway, Steve Crawford, Garith Dugmore, Patricia Whitelock and Phil Charles. Edwin Henneken and the entire team from SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System at Harvard – Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics are duly acknowledged for their support in enabling this initiative. This mirror site provides improved access to the scientific literature for all scientists including those elsewhere in Africa are interested in Astronomy. We encourage South African scientists to use this ADS mirror site and provide their feedback, which will help us to actively maintain the site in collaboration with CHPC.

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