The AAO attempts to maintain an archive of all data taken with AAO instruments or detectors. Magnetic tapes and/or CD-ROMs of data are kept at the telescope in a locked room on the first floor, while AAT photographic plates (or copies) are stored in the laboratory at Epping. Schmidt plates are stored in the Plate Library at ROE (see § 1.12). The AAO does not normally keep copies of data taken on visitors' instruments or detectors unless it is in a format which can be copied easily (e.g. FITS tapes).
Original tapes are usually re-spooled (and concatenated where possible) to a CD-ROM of pseudo-FITS disc files (admittedly rather a strange format, but it does have advantages), from which FITS tapes can be recreated.
The proprietary period for data is two years (though a six month period was set for SN1987A data), after which others may apply for copies. Requests for data should be made to the Director.
Please note - as of September 1997, the AAO is no longer able to make up data tapes for observers at the end of their runs. The Observatory will, however, continue to support its archive and continue to distribute data from the archive. It is therefore extremely important for all observers to prepare their own data tapes. Guidelines can be found in AppendixC.
The AAO keeps several records of what has been observed with the AAT.
Observers may ask the chief night assistant to make a quick search through the card file for specific objects, or may browse through the file themselves when at the telescope. The cards are ordered by (1950.0) right ascension and contain only the telescope coordinates logged by the night assistant, the tape or plate number, and a pointer as to which log book to seek for more information.