A general purpose library and file format for storing scientific data HDF5 is a general purpose library and file format for storing scientific data. HDF5 can store two primary objects: datasets and groups. A dataset is essentially a multidimensional array of data elements, and a group is a structure for organizing objects in an HDF5 file. Using these two basic objects, one can create and store almost any kind of scientific data structure, such as images, arrays of vectors, and structured and unstructured grids. You can also mix and match them in HDF5 files according to your needs.