Q & A from the 2013-03-27 IGSN Webinar

The following questions were submitted by participants during the Introduction to the IGSN Webinar on March 27, 2013. 
 
Q: will you be posting these slides (and webinar recording) to the EarthCube site? It'd be a great resource.
A: Yes, we plan to post the slides and recording, at http://www.geosamples.org/docs
 
Q: Can anyone define a user name space?
A: Yes, anyone who signs up for a GeoPass account and then logs in to SESAR is able to define a 3-character/digit name space.
 
Q: Once I have set up a name space, can collaborators working on the same project use the same name space?
A: We have some examples where that happens now, they use a shared log-in username.
 
Q: Can an IGSN be assigned to a thin section?
A: Yes, and it has been done!
 
Q: 1) Can mineral separates be linked to rocks from which they were obtained by IGSN? 2) Would a sample powder have the same IGSN as the whole rocks from which it was derived?
A: Yes, they can be linked. And there would be two IGSNs, one for the powder and one for the rock (parent sample). Publications should use the parent IGSN.
 
Q: Will temporal searches be possible?
A: Search by geological age will be possible, currently there is not that information entered for all samples, so search results will be incomplete.
 
Q: We can keep our data private up until some point where we decide to make it public, right?
A: You can control the visibility and searchability of your sample metadata by setting sample metadata release dates. SESAR strongly recommends that sample metadata become available immediately upon sample registration or within two years of registration.
 
Q: WIll it detect duplicate IGSN numbers automatically if we enter the number ourselves?
A: Yes, the system will check for existing IGSNs and will not allow a duplicate IGSN.
 
Q: If I had, say, stable isotope data associated with my samples or lithologic info, I'm assuming I would have to upload these data, connected to the IGSN, on some other site, right?
A: Yes, analytical data will go into databases for analytical data. It could technically be added, but that is not the main use of SESAR, which primarily is a sample registry that links to many other sources.
 
Q: Is lat/long, decimal degrees the only location format you'll accept, or is UTM acceptable?
A: SESAR now accepts UTM coordinates, which must be accompanied by UTM zone. SESAR's geospatial search is driven solely by latitude and longitude, so samples that do not have latitude and longitude will not be discoverable in a geospatial search of SESAR regardless of whether UTM coordinates have been entered. There are a number of online tools available to convert UTM to latitude and longitude (WGS84 geodetic datum is expected in SESAR). 
 
However, SESAR’s geospatial search is driven solely by latitude and longitude so if only the UTM coordinate system is used, the samples will not be discoverable in the geospatial search. There are a number of online tools available to convert UTM to WGS84.
 
Q: Do I have to register all my samples before using it in publications so that I can create that link.
A: Yes! It should show up in the registry before it is used in publications.
 
Q: IGSN serve as a database to keep digital information of samples, right?
A: Correct, it is a registry of samples, with associated metadata (description, files, links)
 
Q: How many samples are required for registration at IGSN?
A: You can start with just one sample! You can log in and look around without any samples.
 
Q: Does the IGSN also produce the unique QR code that we can use in our own systems with, and independant of, the IGSN database
A: Yes, the QR code resolves to the URL of the metadata profile.
 
Q: Would personal initials be good for a name space? Or institutional initials?
A: Depending on your specific case, either of those options would be fine.
 
Q: Can you search by rock formation name?
A: Not yet. There is a metadata field for Geological Unit, but it is not popularly used.
 
Q: If you pre-register more IGSNs than you end up collecting, what happens to the empty IGSNs?
A: You should contact us in this situation for a case by case evaluation! It is possible they can be used in the future.
 
Q: Will you be reaching out to non-Elsevier journals?
A: Yes, absolutely. We started with Elsevier because they had the capability to link to our database. We definitely plan to expand more broadly. If you are an editor, please promote the IGSN!
 
Q: Do you anticipate assigning IGSNs in the field or only in the lab?
A: Both the field and the lab are appropriate for assigning IGSNs.
 
Q: Can a sample ever be deleted from SESAR?
A: It should not. Once an IGSN is issued, it should not go away. There is the functionality to request deletion of a sample (if it was a test, or a mistake), this is handled on a case-by-case basis.
 
Q: How do you physically attach the QR codes and SESAR number to rock samples?
A: You could put the sample label on the bag. The IGSN itself is purposely short so that it will fit on a sample. From a participant: We've epoxyed our IGSN labels to our samples.