On the ground, major surveys, such as 2MASS and SDSS in the optical-infrared, the FIRST and NVSS radio continuum surveys, and the ALFA H I (neutral hydrogen) and pulsar surveys, had archives built into their programs. Radio interferometers generally have standardized observing protocols that make it straightforward to archive the data taken. Radio telescopes operating as single apertures and ground-based optical-infrared telescope user facilities have, in large measure with the exception of the Gemini Observatory, not yet developed an archiving culture, although most major facilities do “save the bits” of raw data. Partly, this lack of an archiving culture is due to the difficulty and consequent cost of archiving data taken under a multiplicity of observing modes. Although cost-benefit considerations must be weighed, given the current trends in the demand for archived data and the growth of private-public telescope partnerships, the committee finds it highly desirable for ground-based telescopes to make data archiving an integral part of their operations in the future.
Archives of either raw or processed data should contain complete calibration information, a history of data processing and/or the software to process the data, and access to tools to analyze the data. The format should be Virtual