Style guide for this Wiki

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This page provides some guidance to authors on creating and marking up definitions.

Creating a new definition

The preferred method (to maintain a properly managed index of terms) is to navigate to the appropriate alphabetical index page (accessible through the main page):


Edit this page to add the new entry that you wish to work on in the form of a hyperlink, e.g. on the page for 'R' one could add

[[reciprocal space]]

IMPORTANT: use a lowercase initial letter, unless the term is itself a proper noun, e.g.

[[Miller indices]]

Now save the index page (the 'R' page that you have been working on in this example). The new entry will appear as a hyperlink - if it is to a page that does not yet exist, it will show up in red. Now click on this new (red) hyperlink, and you will bring up an edit page where you can begin to enter the text of your new definition.

While you are editing the page, you can always click on the Show preview button to see what the formatted entry will look like, but remember that your work will not be saved until you click on the Save page button.

Intellectual content and overall structure

Each entry starts with the translation of the term in other languages (at present we are still experimenting with various formats suggested for doing so). The definition is then given, starting with a short statement as to what the object is, followed by a longer development as necessary. If the development is too long, it should be put in a separate page to which a link is given (see for instance the entries arithmetic crystal classes and Miller indices). A historical note can be added if it is useful. In 'See also', appropriate links to other entries or to IUCr resources (articles in the Journals, pamphlets, COMCIFS etc.) are given as well as references to the relevant chapters in International Tables. Generally speaking, one should always ask oneself: is the definition I am writing going to give the reader the answer he is looking for?

Each entry should be self-contained, and at the same time related to the others within a preconceived framework.

There is of course often a question as to whether a full definition of a rather general term should appear in a dictionary of crystallography, or in a dictionary of chemistry or physics. Our objective is to provide the information that a crystallographer would wish to know. 'chiral' may be considered a chemical term, but the reader who wants to know what 'chiral crystal' means ought to find the answer in our dictionary. A model definition might explain that the chirality of a crystal may either come from a structure built with achiral units (e.g. quartz, benzil) or from the chiral molecules that it contains (e.g. saccharose). It should have links to entries such as 'optical activity', 'gyrotropic', etc., and perhaps a historic note on Pasteur's experiment separating the left and right sodium ammonium tartrate crystals and the consequences for our understanding of enantiomers and racemates.

Formatting content

A brief summary of how to mark up content for formatting and display may be found in the Editing help page.