Following several years of community discussion, the Protein Data Bank (PDB) was established in 1971 as a public repository for the coordinates of three-dimensional models of biological macromolecules. Since then, the number, size, and complexity of structural models have continued to grow, reflecting the productivity of structural biology. Managed by the Worldwide PDB organization, the PDB has been able to meet increasing demands for the quantity of structural information and of quality. In addition to providing unrestricted access to structural information, the PDB also works to promote data standards and to raise the profile of structural biology with broader audiences. In this perspective, we describe the history of PDB and the many ways in which the community continues to shape the archive.
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