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List of plate archives?

Would it be a good idea to compile a list of all astronomical plate archives? I created a link to the (empty) list on the Main Page. --Taavi (talk) 17:27, 21 April 2014 (CEST)

I had a somewhat further going idea - to have on the main page a list of institutions, who have a plate archive (with a short description of it by a representative of the respective institution), and whether any digitization work is already underway there or planned in foreseeable future (including a list of involved persons). Sschmalz (talk) 22:46, 21 April 2014 (CEST)

I have added some information for North America. As a practical problem, you may want to define what constitutes an archive. In our work on the plate census in North America, we found that there were a large number of institutions with just a small number of plates. Do we want to include these or only those plases with a significant number of plates.

Also, I feel any list of plate archives should be divided. Most archives are largely direct plates, but some are mostly slit spectra. And then there are also what I call specialized collections - archives of solar patrol plates (we have 18,000 of these, Mt Wilson has 200,000!), planetary patrol plates (many at Lowell), eclipse plates, multiple-exposure double star plates, etc.

Perhaps we would like to do a worldwide census of plates similar to the one done in 2008-2009 for North America. See the Osborn and Robbins reference in ADS.

W. Osborn

That's exactly the reason, why I suggest to have a list of institutions instead of a list of archives. Each list item will be a link to a further dedicated wiki-page with a description of what kind of plates and how many of them are available at each institution. This way we can avoid the need to have a rigid archive definition (at least in this context), and any sort of division of archives will naturally arise on its own within that description, remaining unique and independent of archive structures/contents at other institutions.

As far as a worldwide census of plates is concerned, we already could start off on the basis of the Catalogue of WFPA (, just keeping in mind, that it comprises only wide-field plates. Sschmalz (talk) 10:57, 22 April 2014 (CEST)

One more thing I forgot to mention, namely, the structure of the list as proposed by me. I'd organize it by countries in their alphabetical order with institutions listed inside, it would look like this:

  • Bulgaria
  • Czech Republic
  • Germany
Dr. Karl Remeis-Sternwarte Bamberg
Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam (AIP)
Hamburg Observatory
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Russia
  • Ukraine
  • USA
Harvard College Observatory
Carnegie Observatories
Allegheny Observatory

Sschmalz (talk) 11:18, 22 April 2014 (CEST)