This document should be of interest to those working in combinatorial or statistical design theory, as well as those interested in the development of standard electronic formats for mathematical objects.
We at DesignTheory.org are in the process of developing a web-based Design Theory Resource Server (http://designtheory.orgDTRS) for combinatorial and statistical design theory. One critical element is our External Representation of Designs which will be used to store designs and their combinatorial, group theoretical and statistical properties in a standard platform-independent manner (external means external to any software). This will allow for the straightforward exchange of designs and their properties between various computer systems, including databases and web servers, and combinatorial, group theoretical and statistical packages. The external representation will also be used for outside submissions to our design database.
We have concentrated our initial development effort in the area of block designs, and in this document we present our standard for the External Representation of Block Designs. We shall give a full explanation and provide examples. We have tried to make the document readable by non-experts, since we don't expect everyone to be an expert in all the areas covered.