The World-Wide Standard Seismograph Network (WWSSN) was established in the 1960's to provide the data needed for fundamental research in seismology and global tectonics. It has served this purpose well over the past decade, contributing essential data during a period of accelerated progress in the understanding of earthquake and tectonic processes. The WWSSN will be the principal source of earthquake data for years to come, but some improvements are needed if the network is to keep pace with the data needs of the seismological community.
These needs have grown with advances in the development of theoretical models of the earth and its processes and with the capacity and versatility of digital computers and display devices. Today, most of the data used in seismological research, excluding oil exploration, continue to be recorded in analog form; the chief interfaces between modern computative machines and seismic data sources are the metric scale or a hand-guided digitizing device. There exists a fundamental gap between the available means of manipulating seismic data and the primitive form of most of the data.