Meme Database: Early Draft Documentation

provided by The Scientific Programming Group

UCO / Lick Observatory

% adass96ab.tex -- ADASS '96 meeting abstract and demo electronic form.
% Modified 10 May 96
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% Please fill out one copy of this form for each abstract or computer demo
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\title{Practical applications of a relational FITS keyword database}
\author{D.A. Clarke, S.L. Allen}
\affil{UCO/Lick Observatory}
In the course of designing a major mosaicked instrument we need
tools to manage the large set of FITS keywords required for instrument
control and data reduction/archiving.  We have therefore constructed a
relational database schema which describes FITS keywords
(and have implemented it using Sybase).  In this schema FITS keywords
and structures are entities, having attributes such as format, units,
datatype, minimum and maximum value, semantics, etc.

This schema can be used to store and document any legitimate FITS keyword
from any source.  Sources or applications of keywords are described
as ``contexts''.  Thus it is possible to establish families of FITS keywords,
e.g. UCO/Lick, Keck, NOAO, IRAF, or instrument-specific keywords.

Separate code modules produce, from this database, HTML or LaTeX
keyword documentation, sample FITS headers, and FITS reader/writer
source code.  If changes are made during an instrument development
project, or over the lifetime of a FITS keyword, new documentation and
reader/writer code can be produced automatically.  FITS namespace
collisions can be easily detected; though the context mechanism makes
them nonfatal, the user might wish to avoid them.

Keywords with tuple values, and indexed keywords (whose instantiation
is controlled by a counter such as NAXIS), can be described
consistently and accurately.
Keywords with enumerated values can be explicitly and fully documented,
as can the sub-semantics and sub-formats of tuple keywords.
Pseudo-keywords can be used to specify fully both table
extensions and FITS header specifications.
We demonstrate the application of
this database to documentation and development for DEIMOS, HIRES,
and other Keck and UCO/Lick instruments.
The keyword database also serves some project
management/specification/design functions.


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