Committee for the Maintenance of the CIF Standard (COMCIFS)

The Committee for the Maintenance of the CIF Standard oversees the development of the Crystallographic Information Framework and reports to the Executive Committee of the IUCr.

COMCIFS was established at the 16th IUCr Congress in Beijing in 1993. It supervises the orderly development of software systems to use CIF, and is responsible for the commissioning and management of dictionaries of subject-specific data items. Each dictionary has a dedicated Working Group (prior to initial acceptance) or Management Group (when the dictionary has been accepted by COMCIFS). These groups have autonomy to work within their relevant communities to develop or maintain the dictionaries.

Drafts are submitted to COMCIFS for technical validation and ultimately for approval. The COMCIFS Chair acts as coordinator of different dictionary activities.

Formal mechanisms (e.g. a name space register) exist to allow informal or private dictionary development. Private dictionaries can serve many useful purposes:
  • during initial development of a new topic area
  • to test new areas or ideas
  • for use in non-crystallographic communities that do not report to IUCr
  • to implement reasonable extensions during the sometimes lengthy COMCIFS review and approval process

Data items developed under private data names can be integrated with "official" dictionaries through an aliasing mechanism. Aliasing also allows interoperability of DDL 1- and DDL2-based applications.