International Geo Sample Number
The International Geo Sample Number or IGSN is a 9 character sample identification code generated by the System for Earth Sample Registration (SESAR). The IGSN preserves the identity of a sample even as it is moved from lab to lab and as data appear in different publications, thus eliminating ambiguity that stems from similar names for samples from the earth. The IGSN unique identifier allows researchers to track the analytical history of a sample and build on previously collected data as new techniques are developed. Additionally, the IGSN provides a link between disparate data generated by different investigators and published in different scientific articles.
The IGSN and SESAR were developed with the support of the National Science Foundation at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and is managed by the Geoinformatics for Geochemistry Program under the direction of Kerstin Lehnert to address data curation obstacles such as different samples that share the same name, and samples that are renamed as they move between laboratories and thus generating analyses that are published under different aliases. As a result, metadata that ensure unique identification is often missing. The SESAR database is designed to address these issues.
To obtain an IGSN, users need to register a sample by submitting information about it to SESAR via spreadsheets and, in the near future, a client system that can access SESAR through web services. Once logged in, users can:
- register individual samples or batches
- track relationships between samples and subsamples (e.g., bulk samples and mineral separates)
- update information on registered samples
- download bar code images for labeling purposes
- request new sample types to be added to the system