Table Access Protocol
"The table access protocol (TAP) defines a service protocol for accessing general table data, including astronomical catalogs as well as general database tables. Access is provided for both database and table metadata as well as for actual table data. This version of the protocol includes support for multiple query languages, including queries specified using the Astronomical Data Query Language ADQL within an integrated interface. It also includes support for both synchronous and asynchronous queries. Special support is provided for spatially indexed queries using the spatial extensions in ADQL. A multi-position query capability permits queries against an arbitrarily large list of astronomical targets, providing a simple spatial cross-matching capability. More sophisticated distributed cross-matching capabilities are possible by orchestrating a distributed query across multiple TAP services."
"This document has been produced by the Data Access Layer Working Group. It has been reviewed by IVOA Members and other interested parties, and has been endorsed by the IVOA Executive Committee as an IVOA Recommendation. It is a stable document and may be used as reference material or cited as a normative reference from another document. IVOA's role in making the Recommendation is to draw attention to the specification and to promote its widespread deployment. This enhances the functionality and interoperability inside the Astronomical Community."