Acta Cryst. (1995). A51, 235
Pp. x + 310.
Oxford: IUCr/Oxford University Press, 1994
Price £40.00. ISBN 0-19-855788-4
This volume is the proceedings of an International School of Crystallographic Computing held at Balatonfu¨red, Hungary, in June 1992. It contains 19 chapters by 19 authors (two chapters have two authors, and two authors contributed two chapters each) and extended abstracts of nine submitted contributions. The topics of these chapters cover a wide range, from practical nuts-and-bolts details, such as a description of the crystallographic information file (CIF) by B. McMahon and descriptions of particular programs (SHELXL-92, by G. M. Sheldrick, and CRYSTALS, by D. J. Watkin) to advanced concepts, including a discussion of likelihood as a phasing tool, by C. Gilmore, and of the particular problems posed by incommensurate structures and quasicrystals, by W. A. Paciorek. In between, there are discussions of various topics of interest to working crystallographers, including direct methods, restrained refinement, powder diffraction, order-disorder, isomorphous replacement, charge-density determination, program structure and databases. With such a broad range of material, it is unlikely that any one reader will find every chapter useful, but there is something for almost everyone, and the book has the advantage over a collection of journal articles that it is not a mixture of articles on completely different subjects; it is also less restricted by space constraints than a journal.
With all of the contributors to this volume being innovative users of computers, it is somewhat surprising that the authors submitted their copy in camera-ready rather than machine-readable form. Before the computerization of the publishing industry, manuscripts were traditionally double-spaced to allow insertion of instructions to the typesetters by copyeditors. Most of these chapters appear to have been produced by similar wordprocessing systems and similar printers, and they have generally similar styles. The fact that this style contains extra space between the lines may improve readability slightly, and does not detract from the value of the volume, but it surely increases the cost. The most unfortunate effect of camera-ready copy, however, is that it reduces the role of the editors to putting the pages in order and writing a preface. The authors of several of the chapters are not native speakers of English, and in some of these chapters there are errors of punctuation and grammar that could have been removed by editing. This would presumably have delayed publication had it been necessary to return manuscripts to their authors for correction.
In spite of these reservations, this book contains useful information, and it is a worthy addition to the library of any group that is actively involved in crystallographic computing.
National Institute of Standards and Technology
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