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Re: [Cif2-encoding] Splitting of imgCIF and other sub-topics. .... .. .

On Friday, September 17, 2010 1:34 PM, Herbert J. Bernstein wrote

>Proposed position on CIF2 character encodings submitted to
>COMCIFS for a vote as an interim agreement on what can be
>agreed thus far, subject to extension and refinement in
>the future.
CIF2 files are standard variable length text files
References to Unicode and UTF-8 are specifically to identify characters
and a concrete representation of those characters in an established and
widely available standard.  It is understood that CIF2 documents may
be constructed and maintained on computer that implements other character

I understand you are anxious to finish standardizing, but I cannot support that language.  It is easily susceptible to at least two conflicting interpretations, one of which is too broad, and the other too narrow:

1) Any text encoding whatever may be used for any CIF, anywhere.

2) Only the encoding(s) recognized by default for "text" in some particular context is supported for CIFs in that context.  (This precludes UTF-8 in at least some places.)

If there are other reasonable interpretations then that only makes the problem worse.  That CIF1 suffers from the same ambiguity (albeit with less impact owing to its restricted character set) does not change anything.

I, too, want to wrap this up, and I think we are close to doing so.


John C. Bollinger, Ph.D.
Department of Structural Biology
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

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