Crystallography and databases

Ian Bruno, Saulius Gražulis, John R. Helliwell, Soorya N. Kabekkodu, Brian McMahon, John Westbrook

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Crystallographic databases have existed as electronic resources for over 50 years, and have provided comprehensive archives of crystal structures of inorganic, organic, metal–organic and biological macromolecular compounds of immense value to a wide range of structural sciences. They thus serve a variety of scientific disciplines, but are all driven by considerations of accuracy, precise characterization, and potential for search, analysis and reuse. They also serve a variety of end-users in academia and industry, and have evolved through different funding and licensing models. The diversity of their operational mechanisms combined with their undisputed value as scientific research tools gives rise to a rich ecosystem. A session at SciDataCon2016 gave an overview of the largest extant crystallographic databases and their current activities and plans for the future. This review summarizes these presentations and considers them alongside other players in the field, demonstrating their variety, versatility and focus on quality and usefulness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number38
JournalData Science Journal
StatePublished - Aug 7 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications


  • Crystallographic information file
  • Crystallography
  • Curated databases
  • Data exchange standard
  • Structural science


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