Now that large databases of resolved galaxy images are provided by modern imaging surveys, advanced morphological studies can be envisioned, urging for well defined calibration samples. We present the EFIGI catalogue, a multiwavelength database specifically designed for a dense sampling of all Hubble types. The catalogue merges data from standard surveys and catalogues (Principal Galaxy Catalogue, Sloan Digital Sky Survey, Value-Added Galaxy Catalogue, HyperLeda, and the NASA Extragalactic Database) and provides detailed morphological information. Imaging data are obtained from the SDSS DR4 in the u, g, r, i, and z bands for a sample of 4458 PGC galaxies, whereas photometric and spectroscopic data are obtained from the SDSS DR5 catalogue. Point-Spread Function models are derived in all five bands. Composite colour images of all objects are visually examined by a group of astronomers, and galaxies are staged along the Hubble sequence and classified according to 16 morphological attributes describing their structure, texture, as well as environment and appearance on a five-level scale. The EFIGI Hubble sequence shows remarkable agreement with the RC3 Revised Hubble Sequence. The main characteristics and reliability of the catalogue are examined, including photometric completeness, type mix, systematic trends and correlations. The final EFIGI database is a large sub-sample of the local Universe, with a dense sampling of Sd, Sdm, Sm and Im types compared to magnitude-limited catalogues. We estimate the photometric catalogue to be more than ~ 80% complete for galaxies with 10<g<14. More than 99.5% of EFIGI galaxies have a known redshift in the HyperLeda and NED databases.Comment: Accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysics, 27 pages, 7 tables, 32 colour figures. Data available at http://www.efigi.or
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