would result in more efficient use of the individual astronomer's time and computer resources.
The committee recommends that archives of selected digital data from ground- and space-based observations should be established and made available over a high-speed national network.
The committee commends NASA's important steps in this direction for space-based data. Digital archiving is becoming increasingly important in sciences other than astronomy. Early funding for archiving could make astronomy a test bed for other disciplines. The NSF astronomy program should seek joint funding with other NSF divisions or from NSF management for a pilot archiving program but should proceed with such a program even in the absence of shared funding.
The committee recommends initiating promptly a technical study on the archiving of appropriate digital data from ground-based telescopes.
The study might identify the requirements for, and a preliminary design of, a national digital distributed astronomical archive. Topics that could be considered include what, initially, would constitute appropriate datasets for archiving; proposals to ensure the broadest acceptance of archiving plans; the identification of costs and funding sources for archiving; community comments on the archive designs; integrating ground-based archives with NASA's Astrophysical Data System and Planetary Data System; interagency and international collaboration; and establishment of a national archive center. It is important that the astronomical community determine the relative priorities between archiving particular datasets and supporting new observations.
The committee endorses NASA's goal of archiving data from all space-based telescopes and recommends that a complementary and compatible archive of selected data from ground-based telescopes be initiated by the mid-1990s.
The archiving initiative for ground- and space-based astronomy should have the following long-term goals: all new major observatories, both public and private, should incorporate an appropriate level of archiving in their design and in their standard operations; most public and private observatory surveys should be archived; and observers should obtain their raw data, whenever possible, in the archive format.