Dictionaries as well as Libraries: Appreciating and respecting the need for clear descriptions

Elizabeth Griffin*
Dominion Astrophysical Observatory (National Research Council), Victoria, Canada

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It is important to distinguish between objectivity and subjectivity in the entries that constitute a Stellar Spectral Library. Are the basic spectra observed or synthetic? Were the stellar parameters determined individually, or as averages, or were they interpolated from adopted relationships? Any biases in those quantities must not be passed on to the user. High-dispersion analyses of the calibrator stars also require careful handling if systematic errors are to be avoided. The burgeoning volumes of medium- to low-dispersion spectra that constitute ‘big data’ need special automatic management if important astrophysics, represented by the ‘outliers’, is not to be lost.

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Keywords : stars: fundamental parameters – stars: statistics – methods: data analysis – definitions: data