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Announcing discussion list for CIF software developers

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <cif-developers@xxxxxxxx>
  • Subject: Announcing discussion list for CIF software developers
  • From: Brian McMahon <bm@xxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 3 May 2000 15:28:34 +0100 (BST)
Announcing a new discussion list for developers of CIF software.

The Crystallographic Information File (CIF) sponsored by the IUCr is a
standard for information interchange in crystallography. First published
in 1991 to describe single-crystal experiments and data for small-molecule
structures, CIF now covers macromolecular structure determinations and
powder diffraction studies, and extensions are under development for
image data, modulated aperiodic structures and other techniques and
disciplines within crystallography.

Although each CIF application uses the same basic file syntax, content is
determined by external files (known as data dictionaries) that specify the
relevant data model and carry information about data typing, validity and
interrelationships. While customised applications can be written to utilise
specific sets of subsets of CIF data, the most powerful applications are
dictionary-driven, so that they can use or be easily modified to use new sets
of data items as they are released.

Authors of software capable of handling CIFs are invited to subscribe to a new 
discussion list for the sharing of experiences, information and code. The list
is open to anyone with an interest in developing software that is compliant
with the published standards for reading and writing CIF data, and is also 
relevant to developers of software for the more general STAR File structure
that defines the syntax of CIFs. Authors of publicly distributable software are
especially welcome, but authors working in a commercial environment will also
benefit from membership. The one strict condition imposed by the IUCr on
CIF-compliant software is that it should indeed comply with the standard; it
is hoped that the existence of a list such as this will halp developers to
work within the standard, and to develop robust cross-platform libraries and
tools for general use in the community.

Mailings to the list should be sent to the address

To subscribe, send an email message to the address
that contains a line of the form
     subscribe cif-developers@iucr.org <your-name>

Further details may be found on the web page
Initially the list will be moderated (though the list manager reserves the
right to moderate responses if there is an unacceptable level of junk mail);
an archive of discussions will be accessible via the web at the URL
indicated above.

A supporting web page for developers will be maintained by the IUCr COMCIFS
team at http://www.iucr.org/iucr-top/cif/developers.html, which will include
a Frequently-Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

Please forward this invitation to colleagues who may also be interested in
this list.

Brian McMahon, IUCr, Chester, UK
Coordinating Secretary, COMCIFS

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