New User Interface and New Approach for Data Integration

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(Latest Revision: 14 December 2016)

New User Interface

Try our next-generation user interface, which features a Simple Search box on the main screen.

The NED user interface has begun a transition to a new, more modern style. Drop down menus may be used to quickly access searches for objects, data, or literature. Clicking one of these options will lead to the classic, familiar search forms for services that have not yet adopted the new style. Searches By (or Near) Object Name, Near Position, and by RefCode (Reference Code) may be typed directly into a prominently featured smart box. The following search forms are available in the new style:

  • Search Objects and Unprocessed Catalog Sources to find objects in NED and sources from catalogs that have not yet been fully integrated into NED (see below).
  • Search By Parameters to search for NED objects using multifaceted constraints.
  • Search Images to retrieve images by object name.
  • In response to a query such as "NGC 1365 images" in the Simple Search box (or using the image search form), the results can be rapidly sorted on various columns (e.g., spectral region) and searched for any string. A link to the IRSA Finderchart service enables users to change the field of view, or interact with imagery from major sky surveys such as 2MASS, WISE, and SDSS at the same location.

  • Source Nomenclature leads to a service for looking up source acronyms.

New Approach for Data Integration

NED has implemented a new methodology for integrating data from both very large catalogs (VLCs) containing hundreds of millions of sources, and smaller datasets from the literature. There is a new user interface to Search Objects and Unprocessed Catalog Sources, with an option to include incoming catalog sources that have not yet been cross-identified and had their key parameters fused with other information in NED.

The current release provides access to 471 million catalog sources from the 2MASS Point Source Catalog (2MASS PSC). Over 62 million catalog sources from the GALEX All Sky Survey Catalog (GASC) and the GALEX Medium Imaging Survey Catalog (GMSC), and 42 million catalog sources from the Spitzer Source List (SSTSL2) have already been cross-identified with NED objects or promoted to new NED objects.

In the past, cross-identifications between incoming catalog sources and objects in NED were integrated incrementally over many months as the results from cross-matching software were vetted and loaded into the database in chunks spanning across multiple NED updates. This had the disadvantage that only a fraction of catalog sources were accessible in NED until the catalogs were fully processed, and it was not clear exactly what subsets were in NED at any given time. In the new approach, selected parameters (columns) for all catalog sources (rows) are rapidly loaded into a new Catalog Source Representation layer of the database and made available for optional inclusion in search results along with the fully integrated NED objects. A detailed discussion of the ontology of unprocessed catalog sources (Status=S) versus NED objects (Status=O) may be found here.

The Introduction to NED has more details about all of NED's services, and NED's Features gives a brief overview of NED.

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