Data Format
Home Authors Magazines Oddments

Main Record Types
Special Field Formats
Control Files
Support Files
Book ("A") Records Author Fields


User Documentation Recent Changes
Book Note ("D") Records Title Fields


00xxx.mag Index Structure First Editions
Item ("EA") Records Item Types Ft-Links.cvt Magazine Indexes First Appearance Notes
Item Qualifier ("EB/C/D/N/O/P/Q/T") Records Publication Details Pseud.cvt Style Guide Conditional Flags
    Series.cvt Trigraphs Output Format Notes


Underlying the Crime Fiction Index, the FictionMags Index, and other similar indexes, is a formal data format that is used for coding up all the source records. To facilitate future development and to help clarify the format/usage of this data, this page (and related pages) will attempt to describe, formally, what this format comprises.

The first point to stress is that there are, effectively, three different formats in current use:

Unless stated otherwise, all references in the documentation are to the US 7-bit format.

Control Files

Associated with the data files are a number of control files which are used to expand abbreviations in the files and/or for formatting the files in a manner suitable for publication in the indexes. There are currently four of these:

Support Files

There are also a number of support files, typically specific to an individual index, that help control the way the index is formatted:

In each case, the "xxx" is replaced by the acronym for the index (e.g. "CFI" for the Crime Fiction Index).

Basic File Layout

Each data file consists of a number of groups of records typically (though not always) separated by a blank line, where each group of records represents a single item (e.g. a book or magazine) being indexed. By convention, files listing books present the groups in alphabetical order of author surname, and in alphabetical order of book title (excluding leading articles) within an author; and files listing magazines present them in chronological order of magazine issue date. For magazine indexes the order of the groups will determine the order of entries in the Issue Index - specifics of magazine indexes are discussed further here.

Each group of records contains up to three different record types, which must be in order:

These are all described in more detail on the specific pages.


Note that, when illustrating the format of particular fields, the symbol ␢ is used to indicate a space where appropriate.