Crystallographic Information File
Crystallographic Information File (CIF) is a standard text file format for representing crystallographic information, promulgated by the International Union of Crystallography
International Union of Crystallography
The International Union of Crystallography is a member of the International Council for Science and exists to serve the world community of crystallographers....

 (IUCr). CIF was developed by the IUCr Working Party on Crystallographic Information in an effort sponsored by the IUCr Commission on Crystallographic Data and the IUCr Commission on Journals. The file format was initially published by Hall, Allen, and Brown and has since been revised, most recently version 1.1. Full specifications for the format are available at the IUCr website. Many computer programs for molecular viewing are compatible with this format, including Jmol
Jmol is an open-source Java viewer for chemical structures in 3D,that does not require 3D acceleration plugins.Jmol returns a 3D representation of a molecule that may be used as a teaching tool, or for research e.g...


Closely related is mmCIF, macromolecular CIF, which is intended as an alternative to the Protein Data Bank (PDB) format
Protein Data Bank (file format)
The Protein Data Bank file format is a textual file format describing the three dimensional structures of molecules held in the Protein Data Bank. The pdb format accordingly provides for description and annotation of protein and nucleic acid structures including atomic coordinates, observed...

. Also closely related is Crystallographic Information Framework, a broader system of exchange protocols based on data dictionaries and relational rules expressible in different machine-readable manifestations, including, but not restricted to, Crystallographic Information File and XML
Extensible Markup Language is a set of rules for encoding documents in machine-readable form. It is defined in the XML 1.0 Specification produced by the W3C, and several other related specifications, all gratis open standards....

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