International workshop on scientific use, digitization and preserving astronomical photographic records

Prague, Villa Lanna, March 17-21, 2014

There are more than 7 million astronomical photographic plates and/or negatives around the globe, containing huge amounts of unique scientific data. The wide use of various digitization methods, together with development of dedicated software tools, allows effective and complete evaluation of these data for the first time.

However, a large fraction of these plates and negatives were found to be stored in non-adequate conditions, with consequences of negative/plate damage or even loss. A large number of damaged plates were identified and analyzed by chemical methods, indicating the pressing need for preservation. It is very evident, that, if we want to fully exploit this scientific, cultural, and historical heritage, we need the close cooperation of astronomers, physicists, chemists, archivists, and individuals with expertise in preservation of photographic materials.

The idea of the workshop is to gather specialists in the use, digitization, archiving, and restoration of astronomical photographic archival plates and negatives, and in a nice environment of beautiful and historical Villa Lanna in Prague discuss in detail all aspects related to the above.

Although we plan to focus on astronomical photographic records, we are aware that analogous problems are solved in other areas where archival photographic negatives play a role such as national archives, and non-astronomical photographic records, and so we welcome colleagues from these communities to join us as well.

The areas to be covered:

  • all aspects of astronomical photographic plate and negative archives
  • scientific use and investigation
  • digitization hardware and techniques and data storage and handling
  • software and tools for data analyses
  • proper storage of photographic negatives and plates
  • restoration of plates and negatives
  • related chemical analyses and processes
  • historical and cultural aspects