Chapter 5.2 STAR File utilities

Definition and exchange of crystallographic data

First Online Edition (2006)

Part 5. Applications

  1. N. Spadaccini1,
  2. S. R. Hall2,
  3. B. McMahon3

Published Online: 1 JAN 2006

DOI: 10.1107/97809553602060000752

International Tables for Crystallography

International Tables for Crystallography

How to Cite

Spadaccini, N., Hall, S. R. and McMahon, B. 2006. STAR File utilities. International Tables for Crystallography. G:5:5.2:488–498.

Author Information

  1. 1

    School of Computer Science and Software Engineering, University of Western Australia, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley, Perth, WA 6009, Australia

  2. 2

    School of Biomedical and Chemical Sciences, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Perth, WA 6009, Australia

  3. 3

    International Union of Crystallography, 5 Abbey Square, Chester CH1 2HU, England

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 JAN 2006


The STAR File is a general-purpose data format that explicitly tags data values with identifiers, allowing them to be extracted and manipulated without needing to conform to a particular data model. Star_Base is a powerful stand-alone program that parses STAR Files and extracts specific items according to requests formulated in a simple, flexible but powerful query language. Several examples of its use are described, illustrating how the context of a data item is returned along with its value. Star.vim and StarMarkUp are applications for editing and browsing STAR Files. Some libraries and object classes for STAR and generalized CIF applications are also reviewed.


  • CIF++;
  • Star.vim;
  • StarMarkUp;
  • Star_Base;
  • starlib;
  • StarDOM;
  • STAR File;
  • branching requests;
  • computer programs;
  • conditional requests;
  • context;
  • data models;
  • looped lists;
  • object-oriented STAR programming;
  • software