ICSD for WWW

Conditions for the use of ICSD CIF files


1 March 2007

What is CIF ?

The CIF format is the standard defined by the IUCr. You are advised to check the CIF file using one of the free CIF syntax checkers e.g. CCDC's free Encifer. You should in particular check the symmetry operations, for example by using CCD's Mercury molecular plotting application. Some journals (eg IUCr's Acta Cryst) publish the original CIF files, and these should be used when available rather than these CIF files re-generated from the ICSD data.

How may ICSD CIF files be used ?

ICSD CIF files are not the original CIF files that may have been deposited with a publication. Since CIF is a relatively new standard, deposited CIF files do not exist in many cases. ICSD CIF files are therefore generated by FIZ Karlsruhe, and FIZ Karlsruhe as producer of the ICSD, is the beneficiary according to international copyright law. ICSD CIF files contain certain "checksums" that may be used to determine their origin. They are made available to licensed users of ICSD in accordance with the General Terms and Conditions for the Licensing of ICSD.

In particular, this means that:

  • ICSD CIF files contain a header, which must not be removed, stating that they are protected by copyright.
  • ICSD CIF files can only be used according to an ICSD license agreement, so long as that license remains valid.
  • On termination of the license, all CIF files and derivatives generated by ICSD under license must be destroyed.
  • ICSD CIF files and derivatives must not be communicated to non-licensed users, nor published without permission.
  • ICSD CIF files and derivatives must not be incorporated into another database, except for the personal use of a licensed user.
  • If in doubt about these conditions of use, the user must contact FIZ-Karlsruhe for clarification.


    The ICSD database is copyright 2007 by Fachinformationszentrum (FIZ) Karlsruhe (c)2007 FIZ Karlsruhe
    Please report technical problems with ICSD for WWW to hewat@ill.fr (Alan Hewat).