The Crystallographic Information File
Version 1.1 Working specification
The Crystallographic Information File (CIF) is an archiving and
information interchange standard for crystallographic and related
structural science data promoted by the International Union for
Crystallography. It is a restricted-syntax implementation of the
general Self-Defining Text Archival and Retrieval (STAR) File
format (Hall, 1991; Hall & Spadaccini, 1994). Names and
attributes of standard data items are defined in publicly
available collections known as data dictionaries under the
authority of an IUCr Committee (COMCIFS).
Any file claiming to be a crystallographic information file must
conform to the specifications as herein laid out. Since CIF is
an extensible format, files may be considered valid where they
contain syntactically legal extensions to content beyond the
standard data items as defined in public dictionaries. It is
also inevitable that CIF software will be written to exploit
various subsets of the information that may be conveyed in a
CIF, and therefore not all software will be required to handle
all content in a specific manner.
However, all CIF conformant software must as a minimum be able to
locate, extract or write data items in strict accordance with the
syntax rules that form part of this
Version 1.1 Draft of 27 September 2002; approved
by COMCIFS as working specification 10 December 2002; posted
on IUCr web 24 February 2003.
- Minor editorial changes to wording during Volume G editorial review.
30 May 2002 - B. McMahon
- Line-folding example of semantics document para 26 corrected.
3 August 2004 - B. McMahon
- Statement about ordering of data items introduced in para 7;
ambiguity regarding treatment of global_ removed from para 55.
4 March 2005 - B. McMahon
- Version 1.0 Retrospective labelling of version described in
original paper of Hall,
Allen & Brown (1991), as
amended by COMCIFS
29 January 1997.
- Hall, S. R. (1991). "The STAR File: A New
Format for Electronic Data Transfer and Archiving", J.
Chem. Inform. Comp. Sci., 31, 326-333.
- Hall, S. R., Allen, F. H. and Brown, I. D.
(1991). "The Crystallographic Information File (CIF): A New
Standard Archive File for Crystallography", Acta
Cryst., A47, 655-685
- Hall, S.R. & Spadaccini, N. (1994). "The
STAR File: Detailed Specifications," J. Chem. Info. Comp.
Sci., 34, 505-508.
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