The 'schema file' type of input/output filter we have developed makes inter-format file translation relatively straight-forward. The major problem converting from one format to another will be producing equivalences of variables. There will have to be a 'metaformat' glossary that contains all variables from all formats included, and acceptable default values in cases where one format does not have a variable equivalent to one in the second format. The source file will be converted first into the metaformat (one rather like an expanded version of the Daybreak format), and then into the target format, using the table of equivalences in the glossary.
We will be furnishing this free of charge to all members of the luminescence community. It will contain a file viewer/editor (but not the utilities necessary to add new formats). We hope to have a version ready by the next meeting. When it is in a usable form, it will be available from the download page of this site as a Windows 95/98/Me version.
We know of at least six groups that have written software with their own file formats, and already have the support of several. We need very detailed information about the formats to make this project successful. We also would like to be able to 'publish' the file format as a text file accompanying the file translator, but will only do so with the permission of the software's author.
Specifically, we would require the overall form of the file, the format of each record (the record definition if binary; the list of fields--and/or tags--if ASCII), and the meaning of each variable. Some will be immediately apparent, like record number or curve data, but some will have scalar values (1 = 'this', 2 = 'that', etc.). We need to know what variables are necessary in your software for computations, and which simply represent housekeeping information that is not used. Acceptable default values are needed for when the source file does not have an equivalent variable.
Why should you participate? There are several reasons:
1. Other people will be able to use (and buy) your software. This benefits the entire community and may give you an additional source of income.
2. If you visit another lab using different software, you will want to be able to use the data in your own computations.
3. It will be much easier to collaborate with a larger number of your colleagues.
4. It will hopefully lead to a minimum standard for information content that will remove the need to edit translated files (to add necessary data missing in the source file) before they can be used. (At the conclusion of the first round of this project, we will report on problem areas and propose a minimum standard. Then we will be happy to receive comments.)
Please email us if you wish to join in this project, or if you know
of anyone writing his/her own software and who might be interested.
As we get further into the project we will list the participants on this