NED provides data and relationships between multi-wavelength observations of millions of extragalactic objects. The goal is a complete panchromatic census of objects in the extragalactic sky. NED team activities revolve around an ongoing fusion of data from sky surveys and the literature, focusing on established and candidate extragalactic sources, and maintaining cross-identifications, statistical associations, and anchors to online references and pointers. NED serves as an interface into its own database and now also as a portal for the extragalactic research community into an emerging federation of astrophysics data centers and service providers with queries indexed by object names and coordinates synthesized by NED. As a key participant in the global Virtual Observatory (VO), NED will continue evolving the core functions for knowledge management that it provides today, while supporting new initiatives through use of XML standards to establish higher degrees of interoperability with other services, cooperation in the development and application of new tools for bulk dynamic catalog cross-identifications, serving large multidimensional data streams from NED to interface with data mining and visualization applications, and in general enabling new opportunities for discovery by leveraging new information technologies. Opportunities and challenges to integrate NED into new VO applications have been reviewed, and we discussed a pilot study to utilize prior knowledge on a large scale to assemble large samples of candidates for established and potentially new classes of objects from sky surveys. The experience of over a decade of successful NED services and user support, combined with new capabilities to be developed through collaboration with other organizations taking part in construction of a global virtual observatory, is ushering in an exciting new era of discovery using the rapidly growing online archives.
The NED and LEVEL5 development team consists of Kay Baker, Judy Bennett, Harold Corwin, Cren Frayer, George Helou, Anne Kelly, Cheryl Lague, Joseph Mazzarella, Barry Madore, Olga Pevunova, Marion Schmitz, Brian Skiff, and Dianna Schettini. The Apache Web servers are maintained by Rick Ebert, and Informix database administration is performed by Nian-Ming Chiu. We also thank the IPAC Systems Group for their fine computer and network infrastructure support. This work was carried out by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NED is funded by the Mission Operations and Data Analysis program of NASA's Office of Space Science. LEVEL5 is funded through the NASA Applied Information Systems Research Program (AISRP).