Volume 10, Number 2, September 1994
by John Garrett, Don Sawyer, and Barry Schlesinger

NOST Staff Changes

We are sorry to report that Nicki Fritz, the NOST Librarian for the past several years, has recently left the NOST Library. While she was here she did an outstanding job as the NOST Librarian. Many NOST services users have received invaluable support from Nicki during her tenure here. We wish her the best in her new position. The good news is that Nicki isn't going far. She has transferred to NASA Automated Systems Incident Response Capability (NASIRC) as a Security Incident Reporting Coordinator.

FITS/HDF Convert Project Here

Donald Jennings and Sally Sweetland have joined the task on a part time basis. They are involved in a task to develop Convert utilities to aid in the conversion and transport of data. The Convert utilities are also aimed at providing a high-degree of transportability between the FITS and HDF data format standards. Donald recently attended the Applied Information Systems Research Program Workshop in Boulder, CO, to report on the Convert Project.

FITS Technical Panel Formed

A new Technical Panel has been formed to revise the NOST standard, the "NOST Definition of FITS". The principal purpose for this revision will be to incorporate the IMAGE and BINTABLE extensions and the conventions for physical blocking on different media. The two new extensions and blocking convention were recently approved by the International Astronomical Union FITS Working Group. The Panel will also review text on units from the original FITS papers for possible adaptation into the standard. The Panel is chaired by Bob Hanisch (STScI), Chair of the panel that produced version 1. The other members of the new Panel are: Barry Schlesinger (NOST), Secretary of the version 1 panel; Allen Farris (STScI); Eric Greisen (NRAO); Bill Pence (HEASARC); Peter Teuben (U. of Maryland); Randy Thompson (IUE); and Archie Warnock (Hughes STX).

CCSDS Developments

NOST is continuing to act as the Technical Editor for the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) Recommendation entitled "SFDU -- Control Authority Data Structures (CADS)." This Recommendation has completed its formal review and has received approval from the international space agencies. The document will soon be forwarded to the CCSDS Management Council for approval to release the document as a Blue Book (a CCSDS approved Recommendation). We expect the CADS Blue Book to be available late this year.

The CADS Recommendation will be used by space agencies to aid in automating the registration of data format descriptions. Regarding registrations, we note that the GSFC PACOR II system is using the CCSDS Panel 2 labeling standard (SFDU) and thus the projects they are supporting are seeking to register data descriptions. So far here at the NOST, these include SOHO and HST.

IEEE Metadata Reference Model Meeting

The IEEE is sponsoring the development of a Metadata Reference Model to help automate science user finding, accessing, and using of data in our evolving, highly distributed, and heterogeneous environment. NSSDC's Don Sawyer represented NOST in a small core group of individuals, who were invited to meet at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory on August 24-25 to develop a revised strawman model. This model will be publicly available no later than October 31, 1994, with the intent to hold a follow-on open workshop in mid-January, 1995. You can participate in this process by registering with the reflector at

World Wide Web Access Coming

NOST has joined the stampede into the world of Cyberspace by starting to prepare some of their documents for inclusion on the World Wide Web. NOST is involved both in building a web of information for the NOST and for the CCSDS. Several documents are in the process of being coded, using Hypertext Markup Language, including the NOST Formats Workshop Report and various CCSDS and FITS documents. The NOST web will be appearing as a link from the NSSDC home page soon. The CCSDS web is scheduled for demonstration to the international CCSDS community at their upcoming meeting in November.

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Author:Miranda Beall
Curators: Erin Gardner and Miranda Beall
Responsible Official: Dr. Joseph H. King, Code 633
Last Revised: 21 Nov 1996 [EDG]