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Agenda for closed COMCIFS meeting

  • To: "Discussion list of the IUCr Committee for the Maintenance of the CIFStandard (COMCIFS)" <comcifs@iucr.org>
  • Subject: Agenda for closed COMCIFS meeting
  • From: David Brown <idbrown@mcmaster.ca>
  • Date: Thu, 11 Aug 2005 14:17:53 -0400

Please note that closed meetings of COMCIFS will be held at the IUCr 
Congress in Florence at the following times:

Tuesday August 25 1500-1700 in Beato Angelico Hall
Monday August 29 1230-1445 in Brunelleschi Hall

(The open COMCIFS meeting will be held on Friday August 26 in Leonardo 
Hall - see the program book for details.)

Although the COMCIFS closed meetings are designed for members of COMCIFS 
to discuss items on the agenda below, I would like to invite anyone to 
attend who feels they have something to contribute to the discussion of 
these items.

David Brown
Chair of COMCIFS

Agenda for the closed COMCIFS meetings in Florence

1. Expansion of the mandate of COMCIFS.
1a. Report of the chair on his meeting with the IUCr Executive Committee.
    COMCIFS mandate is currently restricted to the maintenance of the 
CIF standard.  I will seek the Executive Committee's approval to expand 
that mandate to include alternative formalisms or protocols for the 
exchange of standard crystallographic data.

1b. Formal adoption of DDL1 by COMCIFS.
    Maintenance of the dictionary definition languages (DDLs) does not 
currently fall within our mandate, but no other organization appears to 
have assumed the authority to approve changes to the DDLs.  Expansion of 
our mandate would allow us to take these dictionaries under our wing.  
While there is no intention of making major changes to any of the 
existing DDLs, recent attempts to use DDL1 in the originally-envisaged 
computer-driven mode have brought to light errors that should be 
corrected.  Formal approval of these minor changes will allow us to 
provide software that makes effective use of DDL1 in accessing the large 
archive of DDL1 based CIFs as well as providing COMCIFS with valuable 
experience in developing more advanced versions of DDL.

2. Presentation by Westbrook and Berman
    Although it should be clear from the talks at the open meeting, 
Helen Berman and John Westbrook would like to summarize the progress in 
the adoption of mmCIF and related PDBML within the macromolecular community.

3. Provision of a schema for a common CIF<->XML mapping.
    Since non-crystallographic groups who have adopted XML will at some 
point wish to access crystallographic results, there is a need for CIF 
to XML (and vice versa) conversions.  This requires the development of 
an XML schema to represent information stored in CIF.  A COMCIFS 
approved schema would ensure maximum compatibility.

4. The future development of crystallographic file structures.
    After nearly fifteen years, the IUCr has an impressive archive of 
CIFs and considerable experience in their manipulation (though much less 
experience in the computer-reading of dictionaries).  However, if CIF 
does not move forward to keep pace with developments in the rest of the 
world, it will soon become as obsolete as card images.  New features are 
needed in CIF if it is to provide crystallographers with 
state-of-the-art information services. 

    This item breaks down into a number of issues:
    a. avoiding the problems identified in DDL1 and DDL2 dictionaries,
    b. convergence of DDL1 and DDL2 into a single DDL standard,
    c. adoption of new features such as the definition of  vectors and 
                        (i.e., computer-readable algebraic definitions),
    d. interfacing CIF with emerging standards in related fields,
    e. maintaining compatibility with the existing CIF archives.

4a. Presentation by Hall and Westbrook
    Syd Hall and John Westbrook have asked to present their thoughts on 
the future directions of CIF.

4b. Open discussion on the future of CIF.

5. Adjournment
fn:I.David Brown
org:McMaster University;Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research
adr:;;King St. W;Hamilton;Ontario;L8S 4M1;Canada
title:Professor Emeritus
tel;work:+905 525 9140 x 24710
tel;fax:+905 521 2773

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