The DICT-OBJ-FILE class library was developed by the Protein Data Bank (PDB) in order to provide an object view of the mmCIF dictionary via "dictionary object file" class. A dictionary object file is a container of dictionary objects. Each dictionary object, in turn, is a container of its attributes and of objects of type: item, sub-category and category. Each of those three types of objects is a container of relevant attributes for that object type. The class is capable of creating all the objects from the dictionary file, verifying the dictionary against the DDL, writing the objects to the persistent storage file, reading the objects from the persistent storage file and accessing attributes of each object type. Example applications included in the library show how to perform all these operations.



DICT-OBJ-FILE is distributed from the Rutgers site of the Research Collaboratory for Structural Bioinformatics (RCSB) and forms an important component of the software systems used in the Protein Data Bank. Comments should be directed to jwest@rcsb.rutgers.edu.

Language and platform

The software is written in C++ and should run on versions of Unix with suitable C++ compilers.


  • Installation of the class library: For Unix-type installations, copy the gzipped tar file dict-obj-file-v8.008-prod-src.tar.gz into an empty directory; ungzip and extract files using the Unix tar utility. Build the application using the make utility; run test programs with 'make test':
     cp dict-obj-file-v8.008-prod-src.tar.gz /g/h/i; cd /g/h/i
    gunzip dict-obj-file-v8.008-prod-src.tar.gz; tar xvf dict-obj-file-v8.008-prod-src.tar
    cd dict-obj-file-v8.008-prod-src
    make test
    If gzip or tar are unavailable, individual source files may be saved to the build directory.
    For more details see the Installation Notes
  • dict-obj-file-v8.0 Documentation
  • Usage examples

Other versions

Terms and conditions of use

Copyright in the software © Rutgers - The State University of New Jersey
Authors: Steven Schirripa and John Westbrook

The software is distributed here under licence from the Protein Data Bank/RCSB. Use of the software is governed by the PDB software licence. Queries concerning any other use should be directed to sw-help@rcsb.rutgers.edu.