International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA)

Publié le 23 mai 2012, par Thérèse Hameau

About IVOA

The International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA) was formed in June 2002 with a mission to "facilitate the international coordination and collaboration necessary for the development and deployment of the tools, systems and organizational structures necessary to enable the international utilization of astronomical archives as an integrated and interoperating virtual observatory." The IVOA now comprises 20 VO programs from Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, Spain, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, and the United States and inter-governmental organizations (ESA and ESO). Membership is open to other national and international programs according to the IVOA Guidelines for Participation.

The IVOA focuses on the development of standards and encourages their implementation for the benefit of the worldwide astronomical community. Working Groups are constituted with cross-program membership in those areas where key interoperability standards and technologies have to be defined and agreed upon. The Working Groups develop standards using a process modeled after the World Wide Web Consortium, in which Working Drafts progress to Proposed Recommendations and finally to Recommendations. Recommendations may ultimately be endorsed by the Virtual Observatory Working Group of Commission 5 (Astronomical Data) of the International Astronomical Union. The IVOA also has Interest Groups that discuss experiences using VO technologies and provide feedback to the Working Groups. Ad-hoc and permanent committees deal with specific scientific and procedural topics. Interaction with other scientific disciplines interested in data inter-operability is also pursued through dedicated Liaison Groups.