IUCr activities

International Tables Online announced at the XX IUCr congress in Florence

[Window view]Congress delegates were invited to a wine and cheese party to celebrate the upcoming launch of International Tables Online (it.iucr.org) and the arrival of the IUCr’s latest journal, Acta Crystallographica Section F: Structural Biology and Crystallization Communications (journals.iucr.org/f). Details of the online version of International Tables were also presented during an Open Commission meeting.

Starting in 2006, the full series of all eight volumes of International Tables for Crystallography (including the latest volume, Volume G, Defintion and Exchange of Crystallographic Data) will be available through SpringerLink by payment of an annual licence fee.

The advantages that the online volumes will have over the the printed volumes are clear: users will be able to follow cross-references from one chapter to another in the series using hyperlinks, rather than having to have eight large, heavy books at hand at any one time, and will also be able to search the full text of all volumes. The volumes will also be quicker to update, as revised articles and new data can be made available online straight away, rather than only when the volume is reprinted. It will also be possible to ‘break away’ from the restrictions imposed by print media by including interactive features and multimedia presentations.

[Sharpe, Fuess, Strickland]Andrea Sharpe (IUCr Promotions Officer), Hartmut Fuess (Chair, Commission on International Tables), and Peter Strickland (IUCr Managing Editor)
It is envisaged that the initial implementation of International Tables Online will have the following features: (1) The full text of all eight volumes (6000 pages) will be available as PDF and HTML. (2) Users will be able to navigate rapidly through the volumes. (3) Contents lists will be available down to and including the chapter level. (4) Users can choose to view a chapter, a section or a subsection, or even just a single table or a figure. (5) Hyperlinks will be provided from each chapter to related chapters in the series. (6) Advanced search facilities will be available. (7) Indexes will be available at the volume and individual chapter levels, and later at the series level. (8) Links will provided from reference lists to the original literature through CrossRef, ChemPort and PubMed. (9) The online volumes will be intergrated with Crystallography Journals Online and the World Directory of Crystallographers. (10) The space-group tables will contain links between each space group and its sub- and supergroups. (11) Updated content will be immediately available to subscribers.

[Florence party]IUCr cheese and wine party in Florence
The online Tables have been designed to be simple for nonspecialists to use: users do not need to know the printed volumes in great detail to be able to find what they need online. A particular aim of the design is that it should not take more than two clicks of the mouse to deliver content to the user. Every dialogue box will have a menu of options to choose from and all the appropriate pages will contain bibliographic information, so that it will be clear how to cite the page. Above all, the system has been designed to be quick to use and to rapidly deliver content. In addition to all the information in the printed volumes, it is expected that the online Tables will also include ‘resources’: supplementary information, databases and programs that enhance the material within the printed volumes. For example, a chapter that discusses a CIF dictionary will be linked to a browsable HTML version of the dictionary, so that the user can use the dictionary while reading the chapter. From 2007 on, the IUCr will further develop International Tables Online. Space-group information in more nonstandard settings than covered at present by Volume A will be included. The user will be able to download data in well defined electronic formats (such as CIF or XML).‘Playing’ with symmetry will be possible with interactive space-group diagrams and large tables of data will be converted into databases, allowing the user to select and plot graphs of the data within the tables if they wish. To register your interest in International Tables Online and find out more about online access and pricing, please visit it.iucr.org or contact support@iucr.org.

Hartmut Fuess
Chair, Commission on International Tables for Crystallography