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1.1 Introduction

The Cambridge Structural Database System (CSDS) consists of two major components:

The Cambridge Structural Database (CSD)

Software for Search, Retrieval, Analysis and Display of CSD contents

From October 1992, the same version of the database is supplied to all subscribers. This database is denoted as CSD VERSION 5 and is considerably upgraded by comparison with earlier Versions 3 and 4.

The software system is available in two forms:

Basic software system

Graphics software system

The Basic Software System comprises the programs QUEST (for text, numeric and 2D substructure search), GSTAT (3D search, data analysis) and PLUTO (graphical display of 3D structures). All programs in the basic system are driven by alphanumeric instruction sets generated by the user. All output from QUEST and GSTAT is alphanumeric. The basic system was first released with the Version 3 database in 1987/1988.

The Graphics Software System takes full advantage of all database enhancements since Version 3: presence of display coordinates for all 2D chemical diagrams (Version 4), matching of chemical and crystallographic connectivity representations and addition of 3D screens (Version 5).

The Graphics Software System comprises the programs QUEST3D (for text, numeric, 2D substructure and 3D geometric searching), VISTA (for 3D analysis of QUEST3D searches), GSTAT (for 3D search and data analysis) and PLUTO (graphical display of 3D structures). QUEST3D is fully interactive, through a set of graphics menus for query construction and through full 2D and 3D graphical display of hits. GSTAT and PLUTO still have alphanumeric input, but the 3D search capability of GSTAT is now available through the graphics menus of QUEST3D. VISTA is a new menu-driven data analysis program available as part of the graphics software system. All functions of the basic software are included and extended in the graphics system.

The Graphics Software System is released to all Academic users of the CSD System through their National Affiliated Centre. It is also provided to those commercial subscribers who have elected to receive it. All other subscribers receive the Basic Software System. Since all subscribers now receive the Version 5 database, it is a simple matter to upgrade from the Basic to the Graphics software.

This four-volume CSDS Documentation Set accompanies all releases of the CSD and the associated software. It describes the database and its information content, as well as the operation of both software systems.

In this introductory Chapter, we summarize the information content of the CSD and the basic operation of both software systems. These descriptions are then given a more detailed treatment in later chapters of this Volume. The principal computing platforms that are supported are also summarized. Finally we provide a guide to the documentation set, so that both new and experienced users of the CSDS can rapidly locate information that is relevant to their needs.

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Volume 1 Chapter 1 The CSD.