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SIMBAD (Set of Identificati= ons, Measurements, and Bibliography for Astronomical Data) can be accessed from the WWW (at the CDS - or at the CfA -, via telnet or e-mail. SIMBAD has 5,000 individual user accounts in 55 countries. An IP control password is available which allows institutional access to the service. As it is necessary to have an account, prospective users in the US (charges are assumed by NASA) should send a request to Others (European charges are covered by ESO and ESA) should enquire at their libraries or

SIMBAD contains more than 1.5M objects, more than 4.3M identifiers and more than 95k references from 90 journals (since 1950 for stars and since 1983 for extragalactic objects). The data included in SIMBAD evolves constantly as the measurements are updated and more references included daily (in 1994 there were 500 new entries per month).

Its most important characteristic is the cross-identification of objects. SIMBAD contains a cross-index to several hundred astronomical catalogs and logs of space observatories.

It can be queried by name, coordinates or reference code. SIMBAD is the result of a cooperative effort among several institutions. The bibliography is compiled by the Institute d'Astrophysique in Paris and the Bordeaux Observatory; the catalogs by the Observatoire du Midi Pyrenées, the Paris and Besançon Observatories, Astronomisches Recehen-Institut (Heidel berg) and Institute for Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences; correction to the databases are made by the Montpellier Observatory.

As was the case with NED, SIMBAD can also be used in a client/server mode to retrieve essential information on objects to be included in other programs.

What started with SIMBAD was continued with an impressive collection of browsers and catalogs, a true Astronomer's Bazaar (