How do I search for data using the VSO?
These instructions assume that you are using the VSO Web Interface. If you are using some other VSO interface, you should consult its documentation.
Go to the VSO Search Form -- your organization may have a local VSO instance, or you can go to the Virtual Solar Website, and follow the link to search for data from there.
You can select what parameters you wish to use to search for data products. ObservingTime is always a parameter, but you may also choose to search by PhysicalObservable, DataSource, SpectralRange, or by nicknames, which combine multiple parameters.
Alternatively, you can also search using a catalog, by following the link at the bottom of the page.
Once you have selected the parameters you wish to search on, press the button labeled 'Generate Search Form'.
You can then select the values for each of the parameters that you wish to search for. Once you are done, press any of the buttons labeled 'Search'.
You should see a status page, as the system attempts to contact the appropriate VSO Data Providers.
After a few seconds, or up to a minute or two, you should be shown a listing of the data products that matched the search parameters.
Please note -- occassionally, there will be results returned that don't seem to match the search parameters. If a Data Provider does not support searching on a particular parameter, they have been asked to return all items that might match, with the assumption that it is better to have too much data and do some extra filtering, than to not get data products that you would be interested in.