The International Geo Sample Number (IGSN) is designed to provide an unambiguous globally unique persistent identifier (PID) for physical samples. It facilitates the location, identification, and citation of physical samples used in research.
Released on July 1, the ANDS IGSN minting service was developed in collaboration with AuScope to enable the Australian earth science community to assign IGSNs to geologic and environmental samples such as rocks, drill cores and soils, as well as related sampling features such as sections, dredges, wells and drill holes.
Join us for this webinar to:
--learn more about IGSN and their place in the PID ecosystem
--understand the many benefits of assigning IGSN to research samples
--gain insights into the current status and future directions for IGSN implementation in Australia and internationally
--find out about the ANDS IGSN service including service scope and access, as well as plans to expand the service beyond the earth sciences domain
--hear from IGSN experts and ask questions of them
Our speaker line up includes:
--Prof Brent McInnes, Curtin University
--Dr Jens Klump, CSIRO
--Dr Lesley Wyborn, NCI
--Joel Benn, ANDS
Welcome to the webinar
IGSN: a persistent identifier for physical samples
• Joel Benn (ARDC)
• Jens Klump (CSIRO)
• Brent McInnes (Curtin University)
• Lesley Wyborn (NCI)
What are IGSN?
● IGSN are persistent, globally unique, web resolvable
identifiers for physical samples (specimens).
● URLs change over time
● A persistent identifier will
always resolve to a landing
page, even when the URL
changes … or when URL
will be superseded by a
● Examples: DOI, Handle
One name, many samples
URL used to resolve
Sample name used
in the field
URL of this page: https://rockstore.csiro.au/arrc/#/browsesamples/CSRWA275
Why use IGSN?
While sample names are locally unique, they are usually not
unique in a global context.
● exact references to samples in data and literature
● compilation of large-scale catalogues and overview studies
● tracking of samples through varying institutions,
repositories and labs
● verification of sample-based data
What can IGSN be used for?
IGSN can be used for:
● any kind of physical sample.
● the sampling feature from where the sample was taken,
e.g. a site or borehole
● an aggregation of samples
● samples derived from an existing sample (sub-sampling)
IGSN can link to other IGSN, to DOI (data, literature), or other
PID. IGSN is a “related identifier” in DataCite metadata.
Linking Samples, Data and Literature
IGSN can link
to other IGSN,
to DOI (data,
IGSN is a
Background and Global Context
IGSN and DataCite evolved at the same time around 2007, but
samples were seen as out of scope for DataCite and its
The IGSN Implementation Organisation was founded in 2011.
● CSIRO (2013)
● Geoscience Australia (2014)
● Curtin University (2015)
● ARDC (2017, then ANDS)
IGSN and other PID
● 6.5 million samples registered with IGSN
● Several hundred samples registered with DataCite DOI.
DataCite metadata are not suited for samples.
● Biodiversity research used the Life Science Identifier
● LSID was discontinued in 2017 and reverted to a URL-
A university perspective
● Benefits of implementing IGSN in a lab environment
● Benefits of discoverability to a researcher
Brent McInnes PhD FSEG
Professor of Economic Geology and Geochemistry
Executive Director of John de Laeter Centre Labs, Curtin University
National Coordinator, AuScope Earth Composition and Evolution Program
● 550 unique researchers pa
● 27,000 operational hrs pa
● 10-100 samples per researcher
A Laboratory Directors Perspective
Management System Trial
● 200 samples - GSWA
● 5,700,000 grains of sand
● 8 days of robotic operation
● sample and data
High Probability of Duplicate Sample Names
WA Heavy Mineral Sample Dataset
● Available at http://portal.auscope.org/
○ Curtin University tab
■ TESCAN TIMA Heavy Mineral
Mineral classification by chemistry
● red = TiO2; blue = ZrSiO4
A researcher perspective
● Personal opinions:
○ is my idea original?
○ can I get the fieldwork component
○ can I get access?
○ does similar material exist
○ who can I collaborate with?
○ is this grant proposal well thought
○ will using IGSN improve my ability
to win grants and receive
recognition for my work?
ARDC IGSN service
● Collaboration between AuScope, ANDS and CSIRO and implemented as part of
Geosciences Data-enhanced Virtual Laboratory (DeVL) project.
● The service is free and is intended for use by the Australian Earth science research
● Accessed via the AuSCOPE website and requires authentication via the Australian
Access Federation (AAF).
● Minimum metadata and landing page required.
● Extending the service for use with other physical sample types.
● API also available for M2M minting.
Future of IGSN
The ability for IGSN to link samples and data derived from
samples to publications has made it extremely popular
IGSN is now being used beyond the original intention for
samples from geoscience domains: growth is phenomenal
Growth into other domains needs to be moderated to:
1. Ensure compliance with international standards relevant to that individual domain; and
2. Identify the key common kernel attributes across domains
Governance model needs to be strengthened to:
1. Cope with the growth of IGSN within the geoscience domain and its spread to other domains; and
2. Ensure good ‘community’ behaviour (e.g., following agreed protocols and not independently
labelling their own internal developments as ‘IGSN’).
Need to coordinate awareness and outreach to ensure consistent messages are sent globally
Addressing these issues: the Sloan Foundation grant
$US384,000 over 20 Months starting 1 August 2018.
The grant will establish a solid, executable plan for the
future of the IGSN that will enable new organizations
to participate easily and with confidence in the
global network of organizations and services
that support the integration of physical
samples into the research data ecosystem.
The funding will mainly support a series of
workshops for international experts
(including DataCite) to come together to
redesign the IGSN system and its management
to allow researchers worldwide to
use the IGSN with confidence.
Experts from the US, UK, France, Australia (CSIRO, ARDC), Japan, and South Africa will participate.
More on https://blogs.ei.columbia.edu/2018/07/20/sloan-foundation-grant-open-science/
The ARDC is supported by the Australian Government
through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure
About IGSN: http://www.ands.org.au/working-with-data/citation-and-identifiers/igsn
ARDC IGSN service: http://www.ands.org.au/online-services/igsn-service
Contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org