SkyMouse: A smart interface for astronomical on-line resources and services

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CUI, Chen-Zhou ; SUN, Hua-Ping ; ZHAO, Yong-Heng ; LUO, Yu ; QI, Da-Zhi (2007)
  • Subject: Astrophysics

With the development of network and the World Wide Web (WWW), the Internet has been growing and changing dramatically. More and more on-line database systems and different kinds of services are available for astronomy research. How to help users find their way through the jungle of information services becomes an important challenge. Although astronomers have been aware of the importance of interoperability and introduced the concept of Virtual Observatory as a uniform environment for future astronomical on-line resources and services, transparent access to heterogeneous on-line information is still difficult. SkyMouse is a lightweight interface for distributed astronomical on-line resources and services, which is designed and developed by us, i.e., Chinese Virtual Observatory Project. Taking advantage of screen word-capturing technology, different kinds of information systems can be queried through simple mouse actions, and results are returned in a uniform web page. SkyMouse is an easy to use application, aiming to show basic information or to create a comprehensive overview of a specific astronomical object. In this paper current status of on-line resources and services access is reviewed; system architecture, features and functions of SkyMouse are described; challenges for intelligent interface for on-line astronomical resources and services are discussed.
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