Meteor Library (MetLib) — bibliographic project

Bibliographic work in IMO

One of the main limitations of most amateur clubs until the 1970ies was the lack of literature about meteor astronomy and except for students in astronomy and astrophysics very few amateurs had access to professional libraries. The quality of WGN, the later Journal of the IMO, and the pre-IMO Handbooks required an easy access to meteor literature. Internet did not exist yet and repeated visits to libraries were too time consuming. The library of the Royal Astronomical Observatory in Brussels had a very rich library, and Paul Roggemans, WGN editor in that time, decided to start with a kind of “literature-mining”, screening systematically all series on meteor articles, photocopy the pages of interest and to keep track of the papers in an index called the “bibliographic catalogue”. The project started in 1982 and ended in 1987, about 14.000 meteor related papers were collected and archived which proved a huge help for an editor and author of analyses that required historic meteor stream data. In order to make the Bibliographic Catalogue accessible for IMO, most of the data was entered into a database. The use of the meteor library had several drawbacks: copying and mailing articles from the main meteor library proved too time-consuming and expensive. Meanwhile it was obvious that the Meteor Library was biased by the unavailability of certain series in the library of the Royal Observatory of Brussels. Similar selection effects can be noticed in the references used by most professional researchers who limit their scope for literature to what is available in or near their institute. Especially literature in other languages is completely ignored. Already in the 1990ies some intentions were made to include Russian literature which represents a huge amount of meteor research and knowledge unavailable in the West. For some time we even published an abstracts of selected articles in WGN.

Now 20 years later we have Internet, we have many electronic libraries and databases, the most powerful certainly being Abstract Service ADS of Harvard-NASA-Smithsonian and we have IMO. So we have all conditions to continue this work.

Background: why to do that

The amount of publications in meteor science published not in English language is not negligible. For example, an analysis of the publication flow in meteor astronomy in 1982–1988 made by Ryabova (WGN, 1995, 23, 51–55) has shown that publications in Russian came to 33%. The mentioned research related mainly to professional journals. Most of these publications are not known to meteor researchers now, resulting in unnecessary duplications of efforts. Results of amateur observations published in non-professional sources and in other languages (Czech, Dutch, German, French, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Slovak, etc.) is another valuable information, which is about to be lost.

An initiative group of meteor workers met during the IMC in Poznan, Poland to discuss to start with a project to establish an online Meteor Library.

Status of the project

We agree to work for one year in a status of Provisional Bibliographic Commission. After that we’ll decide should we ask for status of an IMO Commission or Working Group. We cannot exclude that at the end of the year we’ll decide to stop this project.

MetLib global aim

To collect information about papers in meteor science published (mainly) not in English language. To digitize or to organize digitizing of these publications (in full respect of the copyright law) to make this valuable information available to researchers.

MetLib nearest plans

During the following year (till the IMC 2014) we are going to do the following

  • To expand our group: we need at least one person from each country.
  • To evaluate amount of work which should be done, to make a list of journals and other sources
    which should be processed.
  • To begin bibliographic work. We are going to make bibliographic descriptions for some selected
    journals or other sources: Authors, Title, Publication data, Abstract and to translate that in
    English. In many cases the original abstract should be re-written.
  • To publish the bibliography in our eBulletin.

MetLib group

  • Maria Hajdukova (jr), Astronomical Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, Slovakia, astromia at
  • Anna Kartashova, Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Russian Federation, annakartashova at
  • Leonard Kornoš, Comenius University, Slovakia, kornos at
  • Roman Piffl, Slovakia, info at
  • Paul Roggemans, IMO, Belgium, paul.roggemans at
  • Galina Ryabova (coordinator), Tomsk State University, Russian Federation, rgo at

We invite all the people interested in this work to join us. Certainly other bibliographic projects are welcomed!