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ready Crystallographic Information Framework

Abbreviation: CIF

General Information
The acronym CIF is used both for the Crystallographic Information File, the data exchange standard file format of Hall, Allen & Brown (1991) (see Documentation), and for the 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.


Countries that developed this resource Worldwide

Created in 1990

Taxonomic range

Knowledge Domains 

How to cite this record CIF; Crystallographic Information Framework; DOI:; Last edited: Jan. 8, 2019, 1:29 p.m.; Last accessed: Sep 22 2020 7:58 p.m.

This record is maintained by BrianMcMahon  ORCID

Record updated: Sept. 26, 2018, 7:41 p.m. by The FAIRsharing Team.

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Additional Information


    No tools defined


No XSD schemas defined

Access / Retrieve Data

Conditions of Use


The crystallographic information file (CIF): a new standard archive file for crystallography

Hall, S. R. and Allen, F. H. and Brown, I. D.
Acta Crystallographica Section A 1991

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Specification of the Crystallographic Information File format, version 2.0

Bernstein HJ, BollingerJC, Brown ID, Gražulis S, Hester JR, McMahon B, Spadaccini N, Westbrookh JD and Westripi SP
Journal of Applied Crystallography 2016

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Related Standards

Reporting Guidelines

No guidelines defined

Terminology Artifacts

No semantic standards defined

Identifier Schemas

No identifier schema standards defined


No metrics standards defined

Related Databases (2)
The Cambridge Structural Database
Established in 1965, the CSD is the world’s repository for small-molecule organic and metal-organic crystal structures. Containing over 800,000 entries from x-ray and neutron diffraction analyses, this unique database of accurate 3D structures has become an essential resource to scientists around the world.

ChemSpider is a freely available collection of compound data from across the web, which aggregates chemical structures and their associated information into a single searchable repository entry. These entries are supplemented with additional properties, related information and links back to original data sources.

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