IAU Commission 41 : Meetings : Astronomical Archives Session

"Alidade" and the iconographic base for the astronomical archives preserved in France

Suzanne Débarbat(1), Jean-Pierre Cressent(2)

In France, there is a long tradition to collect and preserve archives, and to draw up the corresponding inventories. Such exemples can be found with Delisle, by the mid-eighteen century, with Cassini the Fourth during the first quarter of the nineteenth century, with Bigourdan at the beginning of the twentieth century, and nowadays with the successive curators of the library. In 1988, was held in Washington the IAU Colloquium no. 110 "Library and information services in astronomy" with the participation of A.M. Motais de Narbonne - then curator of the Library - and S. Débarbat, astronomer. This meeting initiated new ideas for the French astronomical archives. Those archives are kept for a large part at the Paris Observatory, but also in some other libraries in Paris: Académie des sciences, Archives nationales, Archives de la marine, Bibliothèque nationale de France, and in various observatories and libraries out of Paris. On March, 18, 1993, a "Journée d'études" relevant to scientific matters was organised by some archivists, dealing with "Préservation et utilisation des archives scientifiques", to which participated N. Daliès - then curator of the library - and S. Débarbat - then under the term of Presidency of the Commission 41 (History of astronomy) of the IAU. These meetings are at the origin (1997) of the "Alidade" database project, concerning a repertory of astronomical archives preserved in France. In parallel, an iconographical database is under construction at the library of the Paris Observatory, and will be available on the web.

(1) Observatoire de Paris, DANOF/UMR 8630, France
(2) Observatoire de Paris, Bibliothèque, France

HTML version: Wolfgang R. Dick. Created: 26 July 2000