International Tables for Crystallography

Specification of the STAR File
S. R. Hall and N. Spadaccini. International Tables for Crystallography (2006). Vol. G, ch. 2.1, pp. 13-19  [ doi:10.1107/97809553602060000727 ]


The general concepts and requirements of a universal exchange file are introduced in this chapter. The Self-defining Text Archive and Retrieval (STAR) File was designed to meet the requirements for a universal data-exchange mechanism, and it is the format widely used in structural science to exchange and archive numerical and text data. The STAR File structure is simple. Discrete data values, always represented by ASCII character strings, are identified by distinguishable tags. A file is partitioned into one or more blocks of data. Within each such block, one or more subsidiary blocks (known as save frames) may encapsulate a set of data items. In each block, a given tag may appear once only, but may index a single data value or a set of looped values. Loops of related items may be combined in tabular structures. Global blocks may occur that establish data values inherited by succeeding data blocks. This chapter describes the STAR File syntax and scoping rules in detail, and provides a formal grammar in extended Backus–Naur form.

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About International Tables for Crystallography

International Tables for Crystallography is the definitive resource and reference work for crystallography. The series consists of nine volumes and comprises articles and tables of data relevant to crystallographic research and to applications of crystallographic methods in all sciences concerned with the structure and properties of materials.