How do legitimate astronomical databases work?

Googling this subject pulls up a wealth of technical papers, but very few “astronomy for idiots” level resources. I’d just like to know what the closest legitimate equivalent to starregistry is, and by what methods do they taxonomize and store recognized identifications of stars – I’m assuming it’s by some kind of 3-axis position coordinate system. Thanks!

Simbad is one I’ve used. Under “Queries” pick “by identifier”. You can type in the name of the star you want to know about in the box, and then pick SUBMIT. As an example, let’s pick, oh, I don’t know, alpha Eridani. Under Basic data, you can see the properties of this star. It’s 2-D coordinates on the sky that we use to place it, not 3-D. However, the parallax is related to the distance, so that can be used as a third dimension.

Anyway, look at the next section, Identifiers. This is a very important star, so it has no fewer than 25 identifiers. The majority of them are just the name of some stellar catalogue, followed by a serial number. Really only the first three or so ever get used:

NAME ACHERNAR                 * alf Eri                     HD 10144
CPC 20 447                    CPD-57 334                    EM* CDS 176
FK5 54                        GC 1979                       GCRV 916
GEN# +1.00010144              HIC 7588                      HIP 7588
HR 472                        IRAS 01358-5729               JP11 517
N30 335                       PLX 344                       PPM 331199
ROT 233                       SAO 232481                    SKY# 2444
TD1 938                       UBV 1700                      UBV M 8330
uvby98 100010144     

The Henry Draper (HD) catalogue is a fairly major one. I’ve alse seen SAO used every now and then. Minor stars won’t have names per se, and so they’ll be referred to by their identifier in some catalogue. Here are the 11 identifiers for HD 12345:

HD 12345                      BD-13 364                     G 272-138
GEN# +1.00012345              HIC 9404                      HIP 9404
LTT 1067                      PPM 210942                    SAO 148151
UBV M 8606                    YZC 11 455                    

Standard disclaimer. I am an astronomer, but I am not your astronomer. I’m not licensed to practice astronomy in your jurisdiction. Blah blah blah…