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Introduction to Object Linking

In partnership with the Simbad service of the Centre de Donnees astronomiques de Strasbourg (CDS) and the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED), the AAS now permits authors to include individual object links in in their papers. These links will be paired: those from the electronic edition out to the data centers via object links in the articles, and those from the data centers back to the journals on a per-article basis showing all the objects referenced in a given paper.

Authors of AAS journals are welcome to tag celestial objects in their manucripts with the AASTeX “\object” macro. This markup will be used to generate links in the electronic edition of the journals to records at the data centers. The object names will be be verified via CDS's object name resolver, Sesame, which queries both the Simbad and NED databases. Object names that are tagged with the “\object” macro and verified through Sesame will appear in the electronic edition linked to the object information hosted at NED and/or Simbad. If authors provide object names that are not recognized by Simbad or NED, they will be asked to provide known object names prior to publication of the paper.

The extra time required of authors to tag their objects appropriately in their articles has numerous and far-reaching benefits.

  • Readers get immediate access to additional object information, including alternative names, positions, velocities, redshifts, and more.
  • Researchers get seamless transitions between the electronic journals and the data centers.
  • Papers with these tags have a higher visibility to readers and researchers. Greater visibility means these authors are more likely to be read and cited.

The second type of object links, those on a per-paper basis offered by NED and Simbad, which can be used by researchers to get all the published papers that contain specific objects they are interested in, are already being supplied by the data centers. When object resources are available at NED or CDS for a given paper, links appear the navigation frame entitled “X Objects found in NED” or “X Objects found in Simbad” where X is the number of objects in the paper referenced in Simbad or NED. Each time a paper in the electronic edition is accessed, NED and Simbad are queried for references to the paper, so as more object information becomes available after publication, new links will appear in the electronic edition.

Both types of object links described above are important tools for doing research on specific objects. Authors are under no obligation to participate in the object linking project,but for those that do, their papers will become available through NED and CDS on a much more rapid time scale, and their papers will be more visible to a larger segment of the astronomical community.