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Draft 2019 report for IUCr exec

  • To: "Discussion list of the IUCr Committee for the Maintenance of the CIFStandard (COMCIFS)" <comcifs@iucr.org>
  • Subject: Draft 2019 report for IUCr exec
  • From: James Hester <jamesrhester@gmail.com>
  • Date: Fri, 20 Mar 2020 12:49:34 +1100
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Please see below a draft report for last year.  Please let me know if I have missed anything that you think worthy of mention. In particular, if the wwPDB has some CIF-related news that would be excellent. And Herbert, did the NIAC do anything relevant to CIF last year that we should make a note of?


COMCIFS report 2019

COMCIFS is responsible for maintaining and developing the suite of
standards known as the Crystallographic Information Framework (CIF) on
behalf of the IUCr. The committee consists of five voting members and
a broad collection of advisers and observers. The current voting
members are James Hester (Chair), John Bollinger (Co-Secretary),
Brian McMahon (Co-Secretary), Herbert Bernstein, and John Westbrook.

New dictionaries

No new dictionaries were approved this year.

Legacy dictionaries

No further legacy dictionaries were transferred to DDLm this year.
The method for doing this has been finalised for the modulated
structure and electron density dictionaries.

International Tables Volume G

COMCIFS members are closely involved with the preparation of the
second edition of International Tables Volume G ("Production and
exchange of crystallographic data"). Progress has been slow due to
clarification of the new foundational standards being a prerequisite
to producing on the Volume. Further information is available in the
report of the Commission for International Tables.

Macromolecular standards

The wwPDB is responsible for a large and rapidly expanding collection
of CIF definitions that encompass concepts and techniques used in the
macromolecular community.  In 2019 submission of entries in mmCIF
format became mandatory as one of the final steps in moving away from
the 1970s era PDB format.

Interactions with other groups

Herbert Bernstein represents COMCIFS on the NeXus international
advisory committee (NIAC).  In 2019...

COMCIFS is also closely involved with the IUCr Committee on Data


This year's AIC International Crystallography School in Naples ("CIFiesta")
had a strong focus on Crystallographic Information, and included several
hours of lectures on the CIF system and dictionaries from CIF experts.

Looking forward

As flagged in previous years, an ever-shrinking group of people is
drawn upon to support CIF maintenance and development. This situation
is not sustainable, particularly as the first generation of CIF
experts move into retirement. This situation did not improve in 2019.
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