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Dictionaries and Thesauri

The Second Dictionary of the Nomenclature of Celestial Objects has just appeared (Lortet, Borde and Ochsenbein 1994a,b). Authors of survey-type source lists are strongly encouraged to check that designations of their objects do not clash with previous namings and are otherwise commensurate with recommendations on nomenclature. An on-line installation of the Interactive Dictionary of Acronyms is provided by telnet to (; login as info (no password). The command info cati ACR will then provide information on the over 3000 acronyms ACR of which over 700 are also recognized by SIMBAD. The command info -l cati ACR provides more details on a given acronym. [Reference: Lortet, Borde, and Ochsenbein (1994a,b).]

The dictionary StarBriefs, maintained by A. Heck (Strasbourg), is available and searchable via WWW under URL It currently comprises about 70,000 abbreviations, acronyms, contractions and symbols from astronomy and space sciences, as well as related fields. Astronomers are invited to consult this dictionary to avoid assigning an acronym that has been used previously. [Reference: Heck (1993).]

On behalf of the IAU several librarians of large astronomical institutions have been working since 1986 on the compilation of a thesaurus of astronomical terms. The first version (1.1) was distributed in paper form to various observatories, and is now available electronically in the directory There are versions for three different operating systems (MS-DOS, Macintosh and Unix). The thesaurus will be essential in many respects, e.g., to aid authors in better selection of keywords for their papers, and to aid librarians in better classification of publications. It will also be used as a basis for sophisticated bibliographical search algorithms using the full text of papers (Kurtz et al. 1994, also see §3.4.1.).

To allow searching and classification of non-English literature, a French, German, Italian and Spanish version of the primary terms is being worked on. The second draft version of this ``Multi-Lingual Supplement to The Astronomy Thesaurus'' has been distributed in May 1994. For their own benefit in future literature searches, all astronomers are invited to check the terms in their respective fields of specialization and make suggestions to R. Shobbrook, librarian at AAO ( [References: Shobbrook and Shobbrook (1992a, 1992b, 1993).]

Next: Directories Up: DictionariesThesauri, Directories, Previous: DictionariesThesauri, Directories,
Sat Sep 10 12:52:44 MET DST 1994