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Session 17 - Data Archives & Tools.
Display session, Wednesday, January 07
We have developed Astrobrowse, a Web search engine where a user may submit a target or position query and have the system search hundreds of possible sites for matching information. Astrobrowse has been developed at NASA's High Energy Astronomy Science Archive Research Center, and uses the GLU syntax and protocols developed at the Centre de Donnees Astronomiques de Strasbourg. Astrobrowse takes the information supplied by a user and then using a GLU database (see Fernique, et al., this conference) generates a query appropriate for each of the resources the user is interested in. Astrobrowse is available at the URL: http://heasarc.gsfc.nasa.gov/ab.
Astrobrowse acts essentially as a user agent. Although the user may have requested information from sites around the world, results are cached locally so that the user can quickly move among the various responses. Users can initially select sites based upon matches to text searches (a la Altavista and other Web search engines) or by searching a hierarchical tree of resources.
GLU helps Astrobrowse to maintain up-to-date pointers to all sites and allows easy distribution of this list to any other site which might wish to bring up their own Astrobrowse agent. GLU also provides facilities which allow Astrobrowse to access the most responsive resource in cases where a resource is mirrored at multiple sites.
All software used within our Astrobrowse installation is freely available for any purpose and we encourage other groups to develop their own customized agents. Links to information and software are available at the Astrobrowse home page. There is also a form available to suggest new pages to be added to the HEASARC Astrobrowse agent. Astrobrowse can be used independently of GLU, in which case updating of the site list must be done completely manually. Please send comments or suggestions for Astrobrowse to email@example.com.
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