About the SKUA project

Probably the best compact summary of the SKUA project is our SFSW workshop paper (see the publications page for the reference). If you have any questions that doesn't answer, we'd be delighted to supply more details.

The Virtual Observatory


The Virtual Observatory (VO) is a world-wide collaboration, supporting astronomical research through a network of projects to support data management, interoperability, portable workflows and common services. It is managed at the international level by the International Virtual Observatory Alliance (IVOA), acting as a standards body closely modelled on the W3C. The UK has a long-term leading role in the VO through the UK e-Science AstroGrid project, AstroGrid participation in the European VO Project and its VO-TECH technology programme, and the substantial UK investment in the European Southern Observatory (ESO), another Euro-VO partner. A primary focus of the various international VO projects is the continuing definition and maintenance of practical and internationally supported metadata describing archive data and web services; and one focus of the SKUA project is to add semantic value to the deployed VO metadata registries, aligned with ongoing VO efforts to develop ways of making these registries useful to astronomical applications. The VO has an existing distributed registry service, containing metadata about large numbers of resources, from organisations and institutions, to large-scale data archive services. This registry is deployed already, in the form of a network of database-backed services.


As well as this infrastructure, we're aiming to produce a couple of applications building on it, ranging from a simple bookmarking service, via a suggestions service (get me more resources like this one!, using some semantic knowledge about astronomy built in to the node or to the service), up to a broadly Facebook-like VRE. The applications are focused on astronomy in the first instance, but the infrastructure is intended to be generic. We thus have some clear use-cases, and we have close links with an existing developer and user community in AstroGrid and in the European Virtual Observatory project.