Published online by Cambridge University Press: 01 August 2006
We present a summary of the major contributions to the Special Session on Astronomical Data Management held at the IAU XXVI General Assembly in Prague in 2006. While recent years have seen enormous improvements in access to astronomical data, and the Virtual Observatory aims to provide astronomers with seamless access to on-line resources, more attention needs to be paid to ensuring the quality and completeness of those resources. For example, data produced by telescopes are not always made available to the astronomical community, and new instruments are sometimes designed and built with insufficient planning for data management, while older but valuable legacy data often remain undigitised. Data and results published in journals do not always appear in the data centres, and astronomers in developing countries sometimes have inadequate access to on-line resources. To address these issues, an ‘Astronomers' Data Manifesto’ has been formulated with the aim of initiating a discussion that will lead to the development of a ‘code of best practice’ in astronomical data management.