2009/03/21

What the VO should be?

I had an interesting email conversation today. It was around standards, companies like Google and Microsoft, and the Virtual Observatory. My sadness about what the Virtual Observatory has not yet delivered to astronomy users, has made me realize that perhaps this is also my fault. I have not been an active participant for a long time (and I will remain one), but I have also not shown what it could be with examples (something I am hoping to have time to change).

My anonymous friend has this to say about the Virtual Observatory:
"...makes me wonder how reliable [current personal] mashups will be over time. Will all of this still work reliably 1 year....or 5 years from now? What about when the original authors have left their respective organizations and technology continues to turn over? Which group will maintain this and ensure the integrity of the service? That's why I like the VO. It's legacy won't be VO standards, but rather cross organization cooperation and accountability."

Cross organization cooperation and accountability: this is really what the VAO should be.