Data volumes from multiple sky surveys have grown from gigabytes into terabytes during the past decade, and will grow from terabytes into tens (or hundreds) of petabytes in the next decade. ... For astronomy to effectively cope with and reap the maximum scientific return from existing and future large sky surveys, facilities, and data-producing projects, we need our own information science specialists. We therefore recommend the formal creation, recognition, and support of a major new discipline, which we call Astroinformatics. ... Now is the time for the recognition of Astroinformatics as an essential methodology of astronomical research. The future of astronomy depends on it.
Astroinformatics: A 21st Century Approach to Astronomy