Version 2.6 of the Common Data Format (CDF) software has been released for beta testing on April 5, 1996. CDF 2.6 adds two new features to the suite of options: data compression and sparse records. Although a crude form of data compression, sparse records will enable a user to minimize space in a CDF data file by omitting the empty/blank records without modifying the binary structure of the data. The data compressions techniques/algorithms supported in CDF Version 2.6 will all be of the lossless type, therefore maintaining complete integrity of the data. At the time of the initial beta release, there were three compression techniques available via the CDF library: Run Length of Zero's, Huffman, and Adaptive Huffman. A second beta release was released on June 17, 1996, and supports two additional compression techniques: RICE and GNU Zip. The RICE algorithm was provided to CDF by Pen-Shu Yeh of Goddard Space Flight Center, Code 738.