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Astronomy is often compared to stamp collecting; many astronomers certainly spend their careers obtaining large collections of things which appear essentially identical to the outside observer. To a great extent these large homogeneous data collections form the foundation for the ongoing research and discovery which characterize astronomy.
I will discuss an ideosyncratic mix of historical, current, in progress, and planned large data sets in the context of the interplay of large, medium, and small investigations. Particular emphasis will be put on the interaction between photometric surveys and redshift surveys.
Methods of archiving, and of indexing and retrieval, are changing the ways data can be used as profoundly as CCDs and large mirror fabrication techniques are changing the way (ground-based optical) data can be taken. I will discuss some current problems and future developments.
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