One feature of the AAO/ST Agreement was the importance of maintaining a single plate library from which users could borrow plates. All plates taken with the Schmidt Telescope will therefore reside at ROE except when in use elsewhere. Some plates, taken for use within Australia, will be sent directly from SSO to the user. These plates are also considered as being `on loan' from the ROE Plate Library and should be returned to the Library (via SSO) when the project is complete. Many of the plates stored at ROE are `on loan' to research projects, for example they may be wanted for COSMOS measurement; such plates are identified as being `on loan' and will not normally be made available for use by others without prior consultation with the current borrower.
At any one time the Library houses about 9000 original Schmidt plates together with copies (on glass and film or paper) of all the major sky atlases. The Plate Catalogue is available on computer and can be interrogated by anyone with access to Starlink. UK users simply log in to ROE under Username `UKSCAT' and this automatically runs the interrogation program. UKSCAT is also available to Australian users on the AAO VAXes at Epping and Coonabarabran.
Most of the plates listed in the catalogue are available for loan. Plates can be shipped to the user if necessary, but many are simply required for measurement on one of the fast measuring machines (COSMOS at ROE or APM at Cambridge). All requests to borrow existing plate material should be sent to ROE using the same form as is used to request new plates. Such requests should be made even if the plate is only wanted for measurement and should be made in advance of, or simultaneously with, requests to COSMOS or APM for measurement. This is important, both to ensure that the plate is actually available and to prevent unauthorized use of the material. In some cases when the original plate is unavailable the Plate Library will provide a copy, if appropriate. Requests to borrow copies of plates (glass or film) should also be made on the same application form and sent to ROE.
Accepted original survey plates are not available for loan, but glass atlas copies can be used for any required measurements. If no glass copy is available, it is usually possible to make special arrangements to allow the original plate to be measured on COSMOS or the APM.
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