IMCA Insights – March 2009
IMCA & The Encyclopedia of Meteorites
by Norbert Classen

Dear IMCA Members, Dear EoM Users, Dear Readers,

Most of you know the "Encyclopedia of Meteorites" (EoM), a website originally created by former IMCA Board Member Pierre-Marie Pelé - a fantastic online database and resource with information on each and every meteorite, and with many pictures provided by the nearly 1300 registered EoM users. Besides that, the EoM provides its registered users with a most powerful tool to manage their collections online, and to share pictures and information with other users. Pierre-Marie's concept was so successful that even the Meteoritical Society decided to use the EoM as a picture database for their Meteoritical Bulletin Database - whenever you search for a certain meteorite in the MetBull database you will also find links to pictures of the respective meteorite hosted on EoM, of course, including the proper copyrights of the person(s) who provided pictures to the EoM database.

Like many other people, the IMCA Board of Directors was very concerned when Pierre-Marie Pelé announced on the MeteoriteCentral List that he was about to auction off the EoM for personal reasons. Pierre-Marie wrote: "My new work doesn't allow me to keep working on EoM website as I would like to. I can't make the updates and make new features available. So I'm selling my domain name and of course the account and the complete website. That's the only way for the website to be continued and updated."

To make a long story short: The IMCA Board of Directors decided to put a bid into the silent auction, hoping that we would be able to continue Pierre-Marie's great work to the benefit of all parties involved. And on February 1, 2009, we were informed that we were actually the high bidder. So yes, the rumor is true - the IMCA is the new owner of the Encyclopedia of Meteorites, and we intend to continue the work of the site, and all prior cooperation such as with the Meteoritical Society and the MetBull Database in the spirit of Pierre-Marie Pelé, the original creator and inventor of the EoM.

We received a few emails by concerned EoM users, and it also came to our attention that there has been some discussion about this subject on various platforms and mailing lists. To answer most of these questions once and for all:

  • Yes, we will keep the EoM open to the public, and its use won't be restricted to IMCA Members
  • Yes, the EoM will remain a FREE resource, and we are NOT intending to charge anything for its use or for registration
  • Yes, we will keep the links to the MetBull Database, and we will continue the cooperation with the Meteoritical Society
  • Yes, your data are safe on EoM - we even increased the security of the site, and we are doing our best to keep it a safe place and to the highest standards of internet security
  • Only the members of our EoM Committee have access to the data stored in the backend of EoM; this is currently two people (see below)
  • So, no, your data won't be accessible to IMCA dealers or third parties, and we are NOT intending to sell, use or abuse any of your data
  • Our mission - authenticity and proper, ethical business practices - extends to the EoM, and so there's no reason to worry
  • If you removed your data from EoM due to the change of ownership, feel free to load them up again - the EoM needs you, and your data
  • If you have any other concerns regarding IMCA & EoM, please contact us at and we'll get back to you, ASAP.

We formed an EoM Committee, chaired by IMCA Board Member Sergey Vasiliev, and we would like to thank him for his time and his programming skills to keep the EoM secure. Sergey is already working on a new MSSQL database that will eventually replace the old MS Access database - something that will provide the EoM users with a more stable database and a faster performance of the site. It will also allow us faster updates and new features that will be announced in time. This is a huge pile of work, and so please be patient - it will be done, but it sure takes time.

In the meantime, the second EoM Committee member, IMCA member Bob Falls, will do his best to keep the good old EoM updated. Thanks to Bob for volunteering for this important task - we wouldn't know what to do without your help.

Having said that, we are always looking for computer-savvy volunteers to help us with our various web-projects - so if you have time and experience with html-programming and/or the content management system Joomla, we are still looking for people to help us with the development of our homepage, and other IMCA projects to be announced soon.

All the best,
Norbert Classen
President IMCA Inc.

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