Many of the basic ideas about access to large, distributed data
holdings were well-understood by those attempting to make a "Space
Physics Data System" in the early 1990's. The technology has improved
since, but these documents still are useful:
Some useful overview documents and presentations are:
A NASA Headquarters overview
of an LWS (and implicitly the Heliophysics) Data Environment and what
will be needed. (ppt, Feb. 2003) Generalizes the Virtual Solar
Observatory concept to "VxOs" for other disciplines, linked by common
XML registry schema to each other and to various services. Points to
the need for appropriate management structure.
The NASA Heliophysics "Rules of the Road"
for data providers and users emphasizes providers' responsibility to
provide open data and analysis tools, and users' responsibility to
consult with and inform providers about their use of the data. This
document, somewhat modified, is now in the HP Data Policy.