A datacard is a small device capable of holding a vast array of technical specifications for a single item only. They are essentially templates which can be placed into a factory production line. Once reconfigured, the machines will be able to produce the item on the card. Each card has a limit to the number of uses that can be gained. The faction which owns the datacard may only authorise a small number of uses, at which point it becomes blank. They may also approve unlimited use such as to allow allied or affiliate factions unlimited use of the technology.
Datacards contain only predefined information, however with Research and Development, it may be possible to amend existing datacard schematics and develop new ships based upon those designs or copy/steal datacards from other locations, thus meaning factions may need to be cautious about who gains access to their technology.