wiki:NewDataProvider
Last modified 12 months ago Last modified on 09/24/20 13:12:38

How can I become a data provider?

We (the VSO) will assist archives with writing the software necessary to connect to the VSO. If you can make a data catalog available (as a database or static files), we can host the parts that 'search' through your data and resolve it into links from your site. Depending on the size of the data, we may be able to find additional sites to host the data and/or mirror it to ensure availability.


There are four major steps to make your data available to the VSO:

  1. Place your data online or install a staging mechanism to distribute data to remote users.
  2. Describe your holdings in terms that the VSO can understand.
  3. Create a SOAP Web Service to translate VSO requests to terms suitable for your archive.
  4. Publish the location of the SOAP service and description of your holdings with VSO.

Assistance is available for the entire process. We suggest that you Contact Us, as we may know other people who are working on making the same data available.

As an optional step, more users have found it beneficial to browse through quicklook or similar browse products in their attempts to determine which data products are of interest to them. If appropriate to describe your data set, both lower-resolution thumbnails (approx. 128x128 pixels) and higher resolution images that can be displayed by web browsers (GIF, JPEG, PNG) are appreciated. We may be able to provide computing resources for generating these images.


Place your data online or install a staging mechanism to distribute data to remote users.

Your data must be readable by the world in order for it to be distributed via the VSO.

It can be made available as individual data products through FTP or HTTP, or through some more complicated asyncronous packaging system.

If your data is already on-line, accessible by either anonymous FTP or HTTP, and has sufficent metadata in the directory structure and filenames, then the VSO can set up a proxy service on one of our servers. Contact the VSO for assistance in setting this up.

Describe your holdings in terms that the VSO can understand.

So that we can route appropriate queries to your system, we will need to some general information about your holdings, such as the instruments, the layout of the data, the time ranges that you have available, and how the data are available for download.

There is a New Data Provider Questionaire available to assist you in this process.

You may also want to read our recommendations on metadata? to include in your FITS files (or ancillary documentation) if you are still at a stage where you have control over the creation of the files to be distributed.

Create a SOAP Web Service to translate VSO requests to terms suitable for your archive.

The SOAP web service provides an interface for VSO to query your holdings, and once data products of interest have been identified, to request those items.

The SOAP web service may be located physically near the data archive, but we can also host the service at one of the participating VSO sites, if you wish.

For those sites wishing to host the service themselves, we have a Data Provider Inheritable available to assist providers, and examples of Data Providers that search data organized in directories, and those that use databases for cataloging metadata. The SOAP inheritable is written in Perl, and uses SOAP::Lite.

If you wish for one of the VSO partners to host the webservice, we will need to work with you to write the interface to search your data, and may need remote read access to catalog databases, or a way to retrieve static dumps of your catalog.

Assistance is available in writing a webservice. Please contact us for more information.

Publish the location of the SOAP service and description of your holdings with VSO.

There is not currently an automated way of doing this, so you will need to contact us.


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