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    The Nautical Almanac - Past, Present and Future
    From: Catherine Hohenkerk
    Date: 2002 Jun 19, 15:16 +0100

    The Nautical Almanac - Past, Present and Future
    
    I have been urged to reply to various statements made on your mailing list
    by both Nautical Almanac Offices, in order to put the official record
    straight as to the past, present and future status of The Nautical
    Almanac.
    
    The Nautical Almanac is a joint publication of HM Nautical Almanac Office
    (HMNAO), and the Nautical Almanac Office of the US Naval Observatory
    (USNO).  HMNAO now (since the closure of the Royal Greenwich Observatory
    in 1998) operates from the Space Science and Technology Department of the
    Rutherford Appleton Laboratory; a UK government laboratory run by the
    Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC).  The
    US Nautical Almanac Office is a section of the Astronomical Applications
    Department of USNO;  a part of the US Navy.
    
    The official requirement for this almanac exists in both countries.  It is
    issued in the UK and US " ... by order of the Secretary of State for
    Defence", and by " . USNO under the authority of the Secretary of the
    Navy", respectively.  However, since 1989, HMNAO has had to operate on a
    commercial basis, relying on sales of its almanacs and data services,
    including the royalty payments made by various commercial companies and
    foreign countries who reproduce our data and almanacs.
    
    The two almanac offices have worked together, sharing information, data,
    independent checking, techniques, since the beginning of the last century
    (~1911).  In 1960, after many years of refinement, The Nautical Almanac,
    as we know it today, became a joint publication of both offices.  In those
    days copyright and commercial exploitation was not a priority.  Why have
    two offices producing the same data?  Why not share the data, the checking
    etc.?  Thus HMNAO took the lead with The Nautical Almanac ? a publication
    started by the Astronomer Royal in 1767, and USNO took the lead with The
    Air Almanac.  For many reasons, including logistics, the almanacs are
    printed and published separately in each country.  The UK publisher is The
    Stationery Office (now a private company), while USNO use the US
    Government Printing Office.  Also it was agreed that other foreign
    countries wishing to reproduce The Nautical Almanac should be allowed to
    do so, for a fee, including changing the headings into their own language.
    It must be emphasised that at that time (1950s), production of almanacs
    was considered a service and not a commercial operation.
    
    Thus the copyright to the majority of the material for The Nautical
    Almanac resides with the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils, the
    UK government body that operates the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.
    HMNAO also registers the NA with the US Library of Congress.  All books,
    almanacs, text-books, etc., that reproduce any pages from The Nautical
    Almanac (or any of HMNAO's publications) should acknowledge permission to
    do so from CCLRC.  On granting permission CCLRC will decide on an
    appropriate royalty fee.  Please let us know if you find an edition that
    fails to acknowledge us.  Have you checked the preface and reverse title
    page of your volume lately?  Some items do change from year to year!
    
    The future - Almanac Offices are not in the business of forecasting into
    the future, although we do produce our almanacs for a year or two in
    advance of the current year!  We remain alert to changes in the underlying
    science and theories of all we produce so we can incorporate them as
    needed.  NA 2003 is now available.  However, I think I can say that the NA
    will be produced for as long as there is sufficient demand.  USNO, also
    has no intention to cease either the collaboration or the joint production
    of the various almanacs.  As a matter of course both offices, if
    necessary, have always been in the position to continue independently.
    
    Both offices are continually looking to see what our customers want and
    need, and for more efficient and cost effective methods of production and
    marketing.  There are no plans to change the format of the tabular pages
    or to cease production.
    
    HM Nautical Almanac Office
    2002 June 19
    
                                   Catherine
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Catherine Hohenkerk                      Internet:        cyh{at}nao.rl.ac.uk
    HM Nautical Almanac Office                              hmnao{at}nao.rl.ac.uk
    Space Science & Technology Department    Web  :    http://www.nao.rl.ac.uk
    Rutherford Appleton Laboratory           Phone:       +44 (0) 1235 44 6429
    Chilton, Didcot, OX11 0QX, UK            Fax  :       +44 (0) 1235 44 5068
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------
    
    
    

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