Business card Technology standards

vCard /.vcf ( and CardDAV (Concluded WG) development

Adaption to new technology devices

Our main goal is to help tech companies like Apple, Google and Microsoft to adopt a modern concept for taking care of Vcard data in a secure interface in iOS, Android and the common web browsers. We have worked since 2014 to push the integrations and we have for example today succeeded to implement a good interface in iOS/ Safari.

vCard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
vCard
Filename extension
.vcf.vcard
Internet media type
text/vcard
Type codevCrd
Uniform Type Identifier (UTI)public.vcard
Developed byCreated by Versit Consortium, all rights transferred in 1996 to Internet Mail Consortium, all rights transferred in 2004 to CalConnect
Type of formatElectronic business card
Container forContact information

vCard, also known as VCF (Virtual Contact File), is a file format standard for electronic business cards. vCards can be attached to e-mail messages, sent via Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), on the World Wide Webinstant messaging or through QR code. They can contain name and address information, phone numberse-mail addresses, URLslogosphotographs, and audio clips.

vCard is used as data interchange format in smartphone contacts, personal digital assistants (PDAs), personal information managers (PIMs) and customer relationship management (CRMs). To accomplish these data interchange applications, other “vCard variants” have been used and proposed as “variant standards”, each for its specific niche: XML representation, JSON representation, or web pages. vCard Plus, an elevated vCard, makes use of a customized landing page with all the basic information along with a profile photo, maps location and other fields. This can also be saved as a contact file on smartphones.

Overview[edit]

The standard Internet media type (MIME type) for a vCard has varied with each version of the specification:[1]

vCard information is common in web pages[citation needed]: the “free text”[clarification needed] content is human-readable but not machine-readable. As technologies evolve, the “free text” (HTML) was adapting to be also machine-readable.

RDFa with the vCard Ontology can be used in HTML and various XML-family languages e.g. SVG, MathML.

Related formats[edit]

jCard, “The JSON Format for vCard” is a standard proposal of 2014 in RFC 7095. This proposal has not yet become a widely used standard.[when?] The RFC 7095 does not use real JSON objects, but rather uses arrays of sequence-dependent tag-value pairs (like an XML file).

hCard is a microformat that allows a vCard to be embedded inside an HTML page. It makes use of CSS class names to identify each vCard property. Normal HTML markup and CSS styling can be used alongside the hCard class names without affecting the webpage’s ability to be parsed by a hCard parser. h-card is the microformats2 update to hCard.

Properties[edit]

vCard defines the following property types.

All vCards begin with BEGIN:VCARD and end with END:VCARD. All vCards must contain the VERSION property, which specifies the vCard version. VERSION must come immediately after BEGIN, except in the vCard 2.1 standard, which allows it to be anywhere in the vCard. Otherwise, properties can be defined in any order.

NameProperty presenceDescriptionExample
v. 2.1v. 3.0v. 4.0
ADROptionalOptionalOptionalA structured representation of the physical delivery address for the vCard object.ADR;TYPE=home:;;123 Main St.;Springfield;IL;12345;USA
AGENTOptionalOptionalUndefinedInformation about another person who will act on behalf of the vCard object. Typically this would be an area administrator, assistant, or secretary for the individual. Can be either a URL or an embedded vCard.AGENT:http://mi6.gov.uk/007
ANNIVERSARYUndefinedUndefinedOptionalDefines the person’s anniversary.ANNIVERSARY:19901021
BDAYOptionalOptionalOptionalDate of birth of the individual associated with the vCard.BDAY:19700310
BEGINRequiredRequiredRequiredAll vCards must start with this property.BEGIN:VCARD
CALADRURIUndefinedUndefinedOptionalA URL to use for sending a scheduling request to the person’s calendar.CALADRURI:http://example.com/calendar/jdoe
CALURIUndefinedUndefinedOptionalA URL to the person’s calendar.CALURI:http://example.com/calendar/jdoe
CATEGORIESOptionalOptionalOptionalA list of “tags” that can be used to describe the object represented by this vCard.CATEGORIES:swimmer,biker
CLASSUndefinedOptionalUndefinedDescribes the sensitivity of the information in the vCard.CLASS:public
CLIENTPIDMAPUndefinedUndefinedOptionalUsed for synchronizing different revisions of the same vCard.CLIENTPIDMAP:1;urn:uuid:3df403f4-5924-4bb7-b077-3c711d9eb34b
EMAILOptionalOptionalOptionalThe address for electronic mail communication with the vCard object.EMAIL:johndoe@hotmail.com
ENDRequiredRequiredRequiredAll vCards must end with this property.END:VCARD
FBURLUndefinedUndefinedOptionalDefines a URL that shows when the person is “free” or “busy” on their calendar.FBURL:http://example.com/fb/jdoe
FNOptionalRequiredRequiredThe formatted name string associated with the vCard object.FN:Dr. John Doe
GENDERUndefinedUndefinedOptionalDefines the person’s gender.GENDER:F
GEOOptionalOptionalOptionalSpecifies a latitude and longitude.2.13.0GEO:39.95;-75.1667
4.0GEO:geo:39.95,-75.1667
IMPPUndefinedMaybeOptionalDefines an instant messenger handle.

This property was introduced in a separate RFC when the latest vCard version was 3.0. Therefore, 3.0 vCards might use this property without otherwise declaring it.

IMPP:aim:johndoe@aol.com
KEYOptionalOptionalOptionalThe public encryption key associated with the vCard object. It may point to an external URL, may be plain text, or may be embedded in the vCard as a Base64 encoded block of text.2.1KEY;PGP:http://example.com/key.pgp
2.1KEY;PGP;ENCODING=BASE64:[base64-data]
3.0KEY;TYPE=PGP:http://example.com/key.pgp
3.0KEY;TYPE=PGP;ENCODING=b:[base64-data]
4.0KEY;MEDIATYPE=application/pgp-keys:http://example.com/key.pgp
4.0KEY:data:application/pgp-keys;base64,[base64-data]
KINDUndefinedUndefinedOptionalDefines the type of entity that this vCard represents: ‘application’, ‘individual’, ‘group’, ‘location’ or ‘organization’; ‘x-*’ values may be used for experimental purposes.[2][3]KIND:individual
LABELOptionalOptionalIncorporated withoutRepresents the actual text that should be put on the mailing label when delivering a physical package to the person/object associated with the vCard (related to the ADR property).

Not supported in version 4.0. Instead, this information is stored in the LABEL parameter of the ADR property. Example: ADR;TYPE=home;LABEL="123 Main St\nNew York, NY 12345":;;123 Main St;New York;NY;12345;USA

LABEL;TYPE=HOME:123 Main St.\nSpringfield, IL 12345\nUSA
LANGUndefinedUndefinedOptionalDefines a language that the person speaks.LANG:fr-CA
LOGOOptionalOptionalOptionalAn image or graphic of the logo of the organization that is associated with the individual to which the vCard belongs. It may point to an external URL or may be embedded in the vCard as a Base64 encoded block of text.2.1LOGO;PNG:http://example.com/logo.png
2.1LOGO;PNG;ENCODING=BASE64:[base64-data]
3.0LOGO;TYPE=PNG:http://example.com/logo.png
3.0LOGO;TYPE=PNG;ENCODING=b:[base64-data]
4.0LOGO;MEDIATYPE=image/png:http://example.com/logo.png
4.0LOGO:data:image/png;base64,[base64-data]
MAILEROptionalOptionalUndefinedType of email program used.MAILER:Thunderbird
MEMBERUndefinedUndefinedOptionalDefines a member that is part of the group that this vCard represents. Acceptable values include:
  • a “mailto:” URL containing an email address
  • a UID which references the member’s own vCard
The KIND property must be set to “group” in order to use this property.
MEMBER:urn:uuid:03a0e51f-d1aa-4385-8a53-e29025acd8af
NRequiredRequiredOptionalA structured representation of the name of the person, place or thing associated with the vCard object.N:Doe;John;;Dr;
NAMEUndefinedOptionalUndefinedProvides a textual representation of the SOURCE property. 
NICKNAMEUndefinedOptionalOptionalOne or more descriptive/familiar names for the object represented by this vCard.NICKNAME:Jon,Johnny
NOTEOptionalOptionalOptionalSpecifies supplemental information or a comment that is associated with the vCard.NOTE:I am proficient in Tiger-Crane Style,\nand I am more than proficient in the exquisite art of the Samurai sword.
ORGOptionalOptionalOptionalThe name and optionally the unit(s) of the organization associated with the vCard object. This property is based on the X.520 Organization Name attribute and the X.520 Organization Unit attribute.ORG:Google;GMail Team;Spam Detection Squad
PHOTOOptionalOptionalOptionalAn image or photograph of the individual associated with the vCard. It may point to an external URL or may be embedded in the vCard as a Base64 encoded block of text.2.1PHOTO;JPEG:http://example.com/photo.jpg
2.1PHOTO;JPEG;ENCODING=BASE64:[base64-data]
3.0PHOTO;TYPE=JPEG;VALUE=URI:http://example.com/photo.jpg
3.0PHOTO;TYPE=JPEG;ENCODING=b:[base64-data]
4.0PHOTO;MEDIATYPE=image/jpeg:http://example.com/photo.jpg
4.0PHOTO:data:image/jpeg;base64,[base64-data]
PRODIDUndefinedOptionalOptionalThe identifier for the product that created the vCard object.PRODID:-//ONLINE DIRECTORY//NONSGML Version 1//EN
PROFILEOptionalOptionalUndefinedStates that the vCard is a vCard.PROFILE:VCARD
RELATEDUndefinedUndefinedOptionalAnother entity that the person is related to. Acceptable values include:
  • a “mailto:” URL containing an email address
  • a UID which references the person’s own vCard
RELATED;TYPE=friend:urn:uuid:03a0e51f-d1aa-4385-8a53-e29025acd8af
REVOptionalOptionalOptionalA timestamp for the last time the vCard was updated.REV:20121201T134211Z
ROLEOptionalOptionalOptionalThe role, occupation, or business category of the vCard object within an organization.ROLE:Executive
SORT-STRINGUndefinedOptionalIncorporated withoutDefines a string that should be used when an application sorts this vCard in some way.

Not supported in version 4.0. Instead, this information is stored in the SORT-AS parameter of the N and/or ORG properties.

SORT-STRING:Doe
SOUNDOptionalOptionalOptionalBy default, if this property is not grouped with other properties it specifies the pronunciation of the FN property of the vCard object. It may point to an external URL or may be embedded in the vCard as a Base64 encoded block of text.2.1SOUND;OGG:http://example.com/sound.ogg
2.1SOUND;OGG;ENCODING=BASE64:[base64-data]
3.0SOUND;TYPE=OGG:http://example.com/sound.ogg
3.0SOUND;TYPE=OGG;ENCODING=b:[base64-data]
4.0SOUND;MEDIATYPE=audio/ogg:http://example.com/sound.ogg
4.0SOUND:data:audio/ogg;base64,[base64-data]
SOURCEOptionalOptionalOptionalA URL that can be used to get the latest version of this vCard.SOURCE:http://johndoe.com/vcard.vcf
TELOptionalOptionalOptionalThe canonical number string for a telephone number for telephony communication with the vCard object.TEL;TYPE=cell:(123) 555-5832
TITLEOptionalOptionalOptionalSpecifies the job title, functional position or function of the individual associated with the vCard object within an organization.TITLE:V.P. Research and Development
TZOptionalOptionalOptionalThe time zone of the vCard object.2.13.0TZ:-0500
4.0TZ:America/New_York
UIDOptionalOptionalOptionalSpecifies a value that represents a persistent, globally unique identifier associated with the object.UID:urn:uuid:da418720-3754-4631-a169-db89a02b831b
URLOptionalOptionalOptionalA URL pointing to a website that represents the person in some way.URL:http://www.johndoe.com
VERSIONRequiredRequiredRequiredThe version of the vCard specification. In version 4.0, this must come right after the BEGIN property.VERSION:3.0
XMLUndefinedUndefinedOptionalAny XML data that is attached to the vCard. This is used if the vCard was encoded in XML (xCard standard) and the XML document contained elements which are not part of the xCard standard.XML:<b>Not an xCard XML element</b>

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ RFC 6350, section 10.1 “Media Type Registration”
  2. ^ “vCard Format Specification: 6.1.4. KIND”IETF. August 2011.
  3. ^ “vCard KIND:application”. IETF. December 2011.

External links[edit]

vCard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
 
vCard
Filename extension
.vcf.vcard
Internet media type
text/vcard
Type codevCrd
Uniform Type Identifier (UTI)public.vcard
Developed byCreated by Versit Consortium, all rights transferred in 1996 to Internet Mail Consortium, all rights transferred in 2004 to CalConnect
Type of formatElectronic business card
Container forContact information

vCard, also known as VCF (Virtual Contact File), is a file format standard for electronic business cards. vCards can be attached to e-mail messages, sent via Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), on the World Wide Webinstant messaging or through QR code. They can contain name and address information, phone numberse-mail addresses, URLslogosphotographs, and audio clips.

vCard is used as data interchange format in smartphone contacts, personal digital assistants (PDAs), personal information managers (PIMs) and customer relationship management (CRMs). To accomplish these data interchange applications, other “vCard variants” have been used and proposed as “variant standards”, each for its specific niche: XML representation, JSON representation, or web pages. vCard Plus, an elevated vCard, makes use of a customized landing page with all the basic information along with a profile photo, maps location and other fields. This can also be saved as a contact file on smartphones.

Overview[edit]

The standard Internet media type (MIME type) for a vCard has varied with each version of the specification:[1]

vCard information is common in web pages[citation needed]: the “free text”[clarification needed] content is human-readable but not machine-readable. As technologies evolve, the “free text” (HTML) was adapting to be also machine-readable.

RDFa with the vCard Ontology can be used in HTML and various XML-family languages e.g. SVG, MathML.

Related formats[edit]

jCard, “The JSON Format for vCard” is a standard proposal of 2014 in RFC 7095. This proposal has not yet become a widely used standard.[when?] The RFC 7095 does not use real JSON objects, but rather uses arrays of sequence-dependent tag-value pairs (like an XML file).

hCard is a microformat that allows a vCard to be embedded inside an HTML page. It makes use of CSS class names to identify each vCard property. Normal HTML markup and CSS styling can be used alongside the hCard class names without affecting the webpage’s ability to be parsed by a hCard parser. h-card is the microformats2 update to hCard.

Properties[edit]

vCard defines the following property types.

All vCards begin with BEGIN:VCARD and end with END:VCARD. All vCards must contain the VERSION property, which specifies the vCard version. VERSION must come immediately after BEGIN, except in the vCard 2.1 standard, which allows it to be anywhere in the vCard. Otherwise, properties can be defined in any order.

NameProperty presenceDescriptionExample
v. 2.1v. 3.0v. 4.0
ADROptionalOptionalOptionalA structured representation of the physical delivery address for the vCard object.ADR;TYPE=home:;;123 Main St.;Springfield;IL;12345;USA
AGENTOptionalOptionalUndefinedInformation about another person who will act on behalf of the vCard object. Typically this would be an area administrator, assistant, or secretary for the individual. Can be either a URL or an embedded vCard.AGENT:http://mi6.gov.uk/007
ANNIVERSARYUndefinedUndefinedOptionalDefines the person’s anniversary.ANNIVERSARY:19901021
BDAYOptionalOptionalOptionalDate of birth of the individual associated with the vCard.BDAY:19700310
BEGINRequiredRequiredRequiredAll vCards must start with this property.BEGIN:VCARD
CALADRURIUndefinedUndefinedOptionalA URL to use for sending a scheduling request to the person’s calendar.CALADRURI:http://example.com/calendar/jdoe
CALURIUndefinedUndefinedOptionalA URL to the person’s calendar.CALURI:http://example.com/calendar/jdoe
CATEGORIESOptionalOptionalOptionalA list of “tags” that can be used to describe the object represented by this vCard.CATEGORIES:swimmer,biker
CLASSUndefinedOptionalUndefinedDescribes the sensitivity of the information in the vCard.CLASS:public
CLIENTPIDMAPUndefinedUndefinedOptionalUsed for synchronizing different revisions of the same vCard.CLIENTPIDMAP:1;urn:uuid:3df403f4-5924-4bb7-b077-3c711d9eb34b
EMAILOptionalOptionalOptionalThe address for electronic mail communication with the vCard object.EMAIL:johndoe@hotmail.com
ENDRequiredRequiredRequiredAll vCards must end with this property.END:VCARD
FBURLUndefinedUndefinedOptionalDefines a URL that shows when the person is “free” or “busy” on their calendar.FBURL:http://example.com/fb/jdoe
FNOptionalRequiredRequiredThe formatted name string associated with the vCard object.FN:Dr. John Doe
GENDERUndefinedUndefinedOptionalDefines the person’s gender.GENDER:F
GEOOptionalOptionalOptionalSpecifies a latitude and longitude.2.13.0GEO:39.95;-75.1667
4.0GEO:geo:39.95,-75.1667
IMPPUndefinedMaybeOptionalDefines an instant messenger handle.

This property was introduced in a separate RFC when the latest vCard version was 3.0. Therefore, 3.0 vCards might use this property without otherwise declaring it.

IMPP:aim:johndoe@aol.com
KEYOptionalOptionalOptionalThe public encryption key associated with the vCard object. It may point to an external URL, may be plain text, or may be embedded in the vCard as a Base64 encoded block of text.2.1KEY;PGP:http://example.com/key.pgp
2.1KEY;PGP;ENCODING=BASE64:[base64-data]
3.0KEY;TYPE=PGP:http://example.com/key.pgp
3.0KEY;TYPE=PGP;ENCODING=b:[base64-data]
4.0KEY;MEDIATYPE=application/pgp-keys:http://example.com/key.pgp
4.0KEY:data:application/pgp-keys;base64,[base64-data]
KINDUndefinedUndefinedOptionalDefines the type of entity that this vCard represents: ‘application’, ‘individual’, ‘group’, ‘location’ or ‘organization’; ‘x-*’ values may be used for experimental purposes.[2][3]KIND:individual
LABELOptionalOptionalIncorporated withoutRepresents the actual text that should be put on the mailing label when delivering a physical package to the person/object associated with the vCard (related to the ADR property).

Not supported in version 4.0. Instead, this information is stored in the LABEL parameter of the ADR property. Example: ADR;TYPE=home;LABEL="123 Main St\nNew York, NY 12345":;;123 Main St;New York;NY;12345;USA

LABEL;TYPE=HOME:123 Main St.\nSpringfield, IL 12345\nUSA
LANGUndefinedUndefinedOptionalDefines a language that the person speaks.LANG:fr-CA
LOGOOptionalOptionalOptionalAn image or graphic of the logo of the organization that is associated with the individual to which the vCard belongs. It may point to an external URL or may be embedded in the vCard as a Base64 encoded block of text.2.1LOGO;PNG:http://example.com/logo.png
2.1LOGO;PNG;ENCODING=BASE64:[base64-data]
3.0LOGO;TYPE=PNG:http://example.com/logo.png
3.0LOGO;TYPE=PNG;ENCODING=b:[base64-data]
4.0LOGO;MEDIATYPE=image/png:http://example.com/logo.png
4.0LOGO:data:image/png;base64,[base64-data]
MAILEROptionalOptionalUndefinedType of email program used.MAILER:Thunderbird
MEMBERUndefinedUndefinedOptionalDefines a member that is part of the group that this vCard represents. Acceptable values include:
  • a “mailto:” URL containing an email address
  • a UID which references the member’s own vCard
The KIND property must be set to “group” in order to use this property.
MEMBER:urn:uuid:03a0e51f-d1aa-4385-8a53-e29025acd8af
NRequiredRequiredOptionalA structured representation of the name of the person, place or thing associated with the vCard object.N:Doe;John;;Dr;
NAMEUndefinedOptionalUndefinedProvides a textual representation of the SOURCE property. 
NICKNAMEUndefinedOptionalOptionalOne or more descriptive/familiar names for the object represented by this vCard.NICKNAME:Jon,Johnny
NOTEOptionalOptionalOptionalSpecifies supplemental information or a comment that is associated with the vCard.NOTE:I am proficient in Tiger-Crane Style,\nand I am more than proficient in the exquisite art of the Samurai sword.
ORGOptionalOptionalOptionalThe name and optionally the unit(s) of the organization associated with the vCard object. This property is based on the X.520 Organization Name attribute and the X.520 Organization Unit attribute.ORG:Google;GMail Team;Spam Detection Squad
PHOTOOptionalOptionalOptionalAn image or photograph of the individual associated with the vCard. It may point to an external URL or may be embedded in the vCard as a Base64 encoded block of text.2.1PHOTO;JPEG:http://example.com/photo.jpg
2.1PHOTO;JPEG;ENCODING=BASE64:[base64-data]
3.0PHOTO;TYPE=JPEG;VALUE=URI:http://example.com/photo.jpg
3.0PHOTO;TYPE=JPEG;ENCODING=b:[base64-data]
4.0PHOTO;MEDIATYPE=image/jpeg:http://example.com/photo.jpg
4.0PHOTO:data:image/jpeg;base64,[base64-data]
PRODIDUndefinedOptionalOptionalThe identifier for the product that created the vCard object.PRODID:-//ONLINE DIRECTORY//NONSGML Version 1//EN
PROFILEOptionalOptionalUndefinedStates that the vCard is a vCard.PROFILE:VCARD
RELATEDUndefinedUndefinedOptionalAnother entity that the person is related to. Acceptable values include:
  • a “mailto:” URL containing an email address
  • a UID which references the person’s own vCard
RELATED;TYPE=friend:urn:uuid:03a0e51f-d1aa-4385-8a53-e29025acd8af
REVOptionalOptionalOptionalA timestamp for the last time the vCard was updated.REV:20121201T134211Z
ROLEOptionalOptionalOptionalThe role, occupation, or business category of the vCard object within an organization.ROLE:Executive
SORT-STRINGUndefinedOptionalIncorporated withoutDefines a string that should be used when an application sorts this vCard in some way.

Not supported in version 4.0. Instead, this information is stored in the SORT-AS parameter of the N and/or ORG properties.

SORT-STRING:Doe
SOUNDOptionalOptionalOptionalBy default, if this property is not grouped with other properties it specifies the pronunciation of the FN property of the vCard object. It may point to an external URL or may be embedded in the vCard as a Base64 encoded block of text.2.1SOUND;OGG:http://example.com/sound.ogg
2.1SOUND;OGG;ENCODING=BASE64:[base64-data]
3.0SOUND;TYPE=OGG:http://example.com/sound.ogg
3.0SOUND;TYPE=OGG;ENCODING=b:[base64-data]
4.0SOUND;MEDIATYPE=audio/ogg:http://example.com/sound.ogg
4.0SOUND:data:audio/ogg;base64,[base64-data]
SOURCEOptionalOptionalOptionalA URL that can be used to get the latest version of this vCard.SOURCE:http://johndoe.com/vcard.vcf
TELOptionalOptionalOptionalThe canonical number string for a telephone number for telephony communication with the vCard object.TEL;TYPE=cell:(123) 555-5832
TITLEOptionalOptionalOptionalSpecifies the job title, functional position or function of the individual associated with the vCard object within an organization.TITLE:V.P. Research and Development
TZOptionalOptionalOptionalThe time zone of the vCard object.2.13.0TZ:-0500
4.0TZ:America/New_York
UIDOptionalOptionalOptionalSpecifies a value that represents a persistent, globally unique identifier associated with the object.UID:urn:uuid:da418720-3754-4631-a169-db89a02b831b
URLOptionalOptionalOptionalA URL pointing to a website that represents the person in some way.URL:http://www.johndoe.com
VERSIONRequiredRequiredRequiredThe version of the vCard specification. In version 4.0, this must come right after the BEGIN property.VERSION:3.0
XMLUndefinedUndefinedOptionalAny XML data that is attached to the vCard. This is used if the vCard was encoded in XML (xCard standard) and the XML document contained elements which are not part of the xCard standard.XML:<b>Not an xCard XML element</b>

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ RFC 6350, section 10.1 “Media Type Registration”
  2. ^ “vCard Format Specification: 6.1.4. KIND”IETF. August 2011.
  3. ^ “vCard KIND:application”. IETF. December 2011.

External links[edit]

Variant Call Format

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
 
 

Biological sequence format
Variant Call Format
Filename extension
vcf
Developed byVCFtools
Latest release
4.3
January 13, 2021; 12 months ago
Type of formatGenomic sequence format
Extended fromTab-separated values
Open format?Yes
Websitesamtools.github.io/hts-specs/
BCF v VCF
 
Demonstrating the difference between the binary BCF and VCF formats.

The Variant Call Format (VCF) specifies the format of a text file used in bioinformatics for storing gene sequence variations. The format has been developed with the advent of large-scale genotyping and DNA sequencing projects, such as the 1000 Genomes Project. Existing formats for genetic data such as General feature format (GFF) stored all of the genetic data, much of which is redundant because it will be shared across the genomes. By using the variant call format only the variations need to be stored along with a reference genome.

The standard is currently in version 4.3,[1][2] although the 1000 Genomes Project has developed its own specification for structural variations such as duplications, which are not easily accommodated into the existing schema.[3] There is also a Genomic VCF (gVCF) extended format, which includes additional information about “blocks” that match the reference and their qualities.[4] A set of tools is also available for editing and manipulating the files.[5][6]

Example[edit]

##fileformat=VCFv4.3
##fileDate=20090805
##source=myImputationProgramV3.1
##reference=file:///seq/references/1000GenomesPilot-NCBI36.fasta
##contig=<ID=20,length=62435964,assembly=B36,md5=f126cdf8a6e0c7f379d618ff66beb2da,species="Homo sapiens",taxonomy=x>
##phasing=partial
##INFO=<ID=NS,Number=1,Type=Integer,Description="Number of Samples With Data">
##INFO=<ID=DP,Number=1,Type=Integer,Description="Total Depth">
##INFO=<ID=AF,Number=A,Type=Float,Description="Allele Frequency">
##INFO=<ID=AA,Number=1,Type=String,Description="Ancestral Allele">
##INFO=<ID=DB,Number=0,Type=Flag,Description="dbSNP membership, build 129">
##INFO=<ID=H2,Number=0,Type=Flag,Description="HapMap2 membership">
##FILTER=<ID=q10,Description="Quality below 10">
##FILTER=<ID=s50,Description="Less than 50% of samples have data">
##FORMAT=<ID=GT,Number=1,Type=String,Description="Genotype">
##FORMAT=<ID=GQ,Number=1,Type=Integer,Description="Genotype Quality">
##FORMAT=<ID=DP,Number=1,Type=Integer,Description="Read Depth">
##FORMAT=<ID=HQ,Number=2,Type=Integer,Description="Haplotype Quality">
#CHROM POS      ID         REF   ALT    QUAL  FILTER   INFO                             FORMAT       NA00001         NA00002          NA00003
20     14370    rs6054257  G     A      29    PASS    NS=3;DP=14;AF=0.5;DB;H2           GT:GQ:DP:HQ  0|0:48:1:51,51  1|0:48:8:51,51   1/1:43:5:.,.
20     17330    .          T     A      3     q10     NS=3;DP=11;AF=0.017               GT:GQ:DP:HQ  0|0:49:3:58,50  0|1:3:5:65,3     0/0:41:3
20     1110696  rs6040355  A     G,T    67    PASS    NS=2;DP=10;AF=0.333,0.667;AA=T;DB GT:GQ:DP:HQ  1|2:21:6:23,27  2|1:2:0:18,2     2/2:35:4
20     1230237  .          T     .      47    PASS    NS=3;DP=13;AA=T                   GT:GQ:DP:HQ  0|0:54:7:56,60  0|0:48:4:51,51   0/0:61:2
20     1234567  microsat1  GTC   G,GTCT 50    PASS    NS=3;DP=9;AA=G                    GT:GQ:DP     0/1:35:4        0/2:17:2         1/1:40:3

The VCF header[edit]

The header begins the file and provides metadata describing the body of the file. Header lines are denoted as starting with #. Special keywords in the header are denoted with ##. Recommended keywords include fileformatfileDate and reference.

The header contains keywords that optionally semantically and syntactically describe the fields used in the body of the file, notably INFO, FILTER, and FORMAT (see below).

The columns of a VCF[edit]

The body of VCF follows the header, and is tab separated into 8 mandatory columns and an unlimited number of optional columns that may be used to record other information about the sample(s). When additional columns are used, the first optional column is used to describe the format of the data in the columns that follow.

 NameBrief description (see the specification for details).
1CHROMThe name of the sequence (typically a chromosome) on which the variation is being called. This sequence is usually known as ‘the reference sequence’, i.e. the sequence against which the given sample varies.
2POSThe 1-based position of the variation on the given sequence.
3IDThe identifier of the variation, e.g. a dbSNP rs identifier, or if unknown a “.”. Multiple identifiers should be separated by semi-colons without white-space.
4REFThe reference base (or bases in the case of an indel) at the given position on the given reference sequence.
5ALTThe list of alternative alleles at this position.
6QUALA quality score associated with the inference of the given alleles.
7FILTERA flag indicating which of a given set of filters the variation has failed or PASS if all the filters were passed successfully.
8INFO    An extensible list of key-value pairs (fields) describing the variation. See below for some common fields. Multiple fields are separated by semicolons with optional values in the format: <key>=<data>[,data].
9FORMATAn (optional) extensible list of fields for describing the samples. See below for some common fields.
+SAMPLEsFor each (optional) sample described in the file, values are given for the fields listed in FORMAT

Common INFO fields[edit]

Arbitrary keys are permitted, although the following sub-fields are reserved (albeit optional):[1]

NameBrief description
AAancestral allele
ACallele count in genotypes, for each ALT allele, in the same order as listed
AFallele frequency for each ALT allele in the same order as listed (use this when estimated from primary data, not called genotypes)
ANtotal number of alleles in called genotypes
BQRMS base quality at this position
CIGARcigar string describing how to align an alternate allele to the reference allele
DBdbSNP membership
DPcombined depth across samples, e.g. DP=154
ENDend position of the variant described in this record (for use with symbolic alleles)
H2membership in hapmap2
H3membership in hapmap3
MQRMS mapping quality, e.g. MQ=52
MQ0Number of MAPQ == 0 reads covering this record
NSNumber of samples with data
SBstrand bias at this position
SOMATICindicates that the record is a somatic mutation, for cancer genomics
VALIDATEDvalidated by follow-up experiment
1000Gmembership in 1000 Genomes

Any other info fields are defined in the .vcf header.

Common FORMAT fields[edit]

NameBrief description
ADRead depth for each allele
ADFRead depth for each allele on the forward strand
ADRRead depth for each allele on the reverse strand
DPRead depth
ECExpected alternate allele counts
FTFilter indicating if this genotype was “called”
GLGenotype likelihoods
GPGenotype posterior probabilities
GQConditional genotype quality
GTGenotype
HQHaplotype quality
MQRMS mapping quality
PLPhred-scaled genotype likelihoods rounded to the closest integer
PQPhasing quality
PSPhase set

Any other format fields are defined in the .vcf header.

See also[edit]

  • The FASTA format, used to represent genome sequences.
  • The FASTQ format, used to represent DNA sequencer reads along with quality scores.
  • The SAM format, used to represent genome sequencer reads that have been aligned to genome sequences.
  • The GVF format (Genome Variation Format), an extension based on the GFF3 format.

The VCF specification is no longer maintained by the 1000 Genomes Project. The group leading the management and expansion of the format is the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH) Large Scale Genomics Work Stream file format team,[7] http://ga4gh.org/#/fileformats-team

References[edit]

External links[edit]