The development of astronomic publications

Astronomy is an observation science not an experimental one. Every observation is unique, therefore new data don't invalidate the former ones. Consequently, the scientific interest of documents in which they are reported is everlasting. During the XIX th century, publications are mostly « observatory publications », in which astronomical catalogues can be compared with library bibliographical catalogues. Since about 1850, the use of photography offers richer and more precise possibilities in astronomical observation, emphasizes the importance of those publications and the diversity of the catalogues. After the World War II, the increase of international sharing of observationnal means induces new changes in publications (in radioastronomy for instance). As an exemple, the Stellar data center (Centre de données stellaires), held in Strasbourg and created in 1972, became a world cooperation center. Such centers take over from the « Observatory publications » - falling off since 1950 - with the same aims : gathering and disseminating astronomical information using new technologies.