Latest News

May 2018

May 2018. Nearly 7,000 holes drilled across the globe in collaboration with the Continental Scientific Drilling Coordination Office have been registered in SESAR. These holes now have persistent and globally unique identifiers (IGSNs) and can be linked to core samples extracted from the holes. Check them out in the SESAR Catalog by searching Set Name/IGSN -> IGSN begins with "CDR". These holes were registered as part of Open Core Data, an NSF-funded project that is radically improving discoverability, accessibility, citeability, preservation, and integration of data from past, current, and future drilling and coring projects.



CSDCO Hole Locations plotted in GeoMapApp

April 2018

Apr 2018. SESAR version 7.1.1 is released, which includes new features, enhancements, and improvements.

  • New Feature: An option to preview sample locations on a map is now provided when you upload a SESAR batch registration or batch upload template in MySESAR. You can access the map by clicking "View Locations on Map." Locations are only shown if you have entered values for Latitude and Longitude (not UTM). You can see if samples plot in expected locations and, if not, you can adjust coordinates in your batch template and re-upload it, eliminating the need to edit sample metadata at a later time or involve the SESAR curator. We recommend that you double-check your sample locations by viewing your samples on a map each time you upload a batch registration template.

Read all of the improvements at the SESAR Release Notes page.

January 2018

Jan 2018. SESAR version 7.1.0 is released, which includes many new features and improvements. Some highlights:

  • Users may now set release dates when registering samples. Release dates determine when sample metadata is publicly accessible and searchable. If no release dates are specified, sample metadata will be publicly accessible immediately (recommended).
  • Users may now update release dates for sample metadata by editing individual sample profiles in MySESAR, using the MySESAR batch update functionality, or using the update web service.
  • A new batch registration template can now be downloaded from MySESAR. This new template allows users to specify different release dates for each sample in the template, rather than setting a single release date for all samples in the template. If no release dates are specified, sample metadata will be publicly accessible immediately (recommended).
  • An email notification will now be sent to sample owners one month before their sample metadata release dates. This email will notify users of the upcoming release dates and recommend steps for editing release dates if desired.
  • Formatting for dates (e.g., collection date) in batch registration templates has been relaxed. Acceptable date formats now include YYYY-MM-DD and MM/DD/YYYY. Date cells no longer have to be formatted as text.


Read all of the improvements at the SESAR Release Notes page.

If you have any questions or comments about the new features, please contact

Jan 2018. A recent EOS Meeting Report describes last year’s International Symposium on Linking Environmental Data and Samples, which gathered more than 70 participants from a variety of Earth and environmental disciplines such as the solid Earth sciences, marine science, oceanography, soil science, ecosystems science, biodiversity, and remote sensing. Researchers, including SESAR's Dr. Kerstin Lehnert, considered whether a uniform approach to data representation could be applied to disciplines and projects with widely varying approaches to sampling. Various sessions allowed attendees to discuss their motivations for linking samples and data, explore technical approaches to Web linking and identifiers, and evaluate the challenges in the adoption of common standards across different disciplines and sectors where incentives may vary widelyParticipants agreed that relationships between samples, parts of samples, and sampling artifacts must be recorded to allow resulting observations to be related back to the world. Ultimately, the meeting achieved its theme of “linking” by bringing together multiple disciplines to improve our understanding of how linked data can work in practice for environmental samples and data.

November 2017

Nov 2017. Undergraduate students in the Computer Sciences Department at the College of Charleston are developing open-source software applications that make it easier to document and register scientific samples in the System for Earth Sample Registration (SESAR) to improve discovery and access to these valuable research resources for future use. The students are working under the direction of Dr. Jim Bowring in the Cyber Infrastructure Research & Development Lab for the Earth Sciences (CIRDLES). Four of the students recently presented their work at the 2017 Geological Society of America Annual Meeting. MARS, Middleware for Assisting with the Registration of Samples, is highlighted below.
MARS: Middleware for Assisting with the Registration of Samples
Tia Curry is the latest student from the CIRDLES lab to work on developing MARS, an open-source, cross-platform desktop and web application that streamlines the bulk registration of samples in the SESAR sample registry. The application, which is still in development, allows investigators to register samples using their own preferred sample metadata file, rather than having to rearrange sample metadata to fit into the SESAR batch registration template. Users should also supply a mapping file that maps SESAR metadata fields to fields in their sample metadata files. MARS takes advantage of existing SESAR sample registration web services to validate and register samples. Once IGSNs are assigned, they are automatically inserted back into the user's original sample metadata file, eliminating the need to copy and paste or wait for an email. Check out Curry's recent presentation about MARS here.
MARS was originally developed to assist with the registration of thousands of legacy cores archived at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. For Geological Collections Manager Alex Hangsterfer, the time required to rearrange countless spreadsheets worth of metadata in order to upload those spreadsheets to SESAR was simply not feasible. Although MARS was initially prototyped to facilitate the registration of the Scripps core collection, its highly extensible architecture will allow broad adoption.
The idea for MARS originally came about when Hangsterfer shared her challenges with Bowring and others at the Kickoff Meeting of the EarthCube iSamples Research Coordination Network (RCN) in 2015 and from there, a working group was formed to investigate tools to lower the barriers to use of the International Geo Sample Number (IGSN), the globally-unique identifier for physical samples. The IGSN, itself, has been recognized as an important tool for uniquely identifying samples in the lab and in the literature, as well as for linking samples to data, publications, and funding awards. Because resources can vary widely from one organization to another, open-source and extensible development of tools like MARS is immensely important for facilitating widespread adoption and use of the IGSN. Efforts like the iSamples RCN are also pivotal for providing a forum for diverse stakeholders, like computer scientist Bowring and geological collections manager Hangsterfer, to engage with one another. The RCN also provided modest student support to carry out development.

July 2017

Jul 2017. SESAR version 7.0.0 is released, which includes many new features and improvements. Some highlights:

  • Users may now update sample metadata for existing samples in bulk by uploading a batch template, a method that is very similar to the initial batch registration mechanism. Check out this tutorial about the new functionality.
  • Users can now assign IGSNs of up to 32 characters in length (A-Z, 0-9, '-', '.'). The new syntax follows recommendations of the IGSN e.V. at The extended syntax is primarily intended for use by large repositories, where it may be necessary to use hierarchical syntax conventions. However, in consideration of human readability as well as the fact that the IGSN will appear on-line and in print, the IGSN e.V. recommends that the IGSN should be as concise as possible. If you are considering assigning IGSNs to your samples that are longer than 9 characters, please contact to discuss.
  • Users can now specify Elevation Unit when registering samples (must be either feet, meters, miles, or kilometers).


Read all of the improvements at the SESAR Release Notes page.

If you have any questions or comments about the new features, please contact

May 2017

May 2017. Copernicus Publications, publisher of nearly 40 peer-reviewed open-access scientific journals, now encourages the use of the International Geo Sample Number (IGSN) in articles to promote reproducibility of scientific research. Copernicus allows authors to connect their publications with related "assets", such as other research data, model code, videos, and now physical samples via the IGSN. Authors are encouraged to include IGSNs for any physical samples in manuscript text, as well as cite the IGSN in the reference list and include a statement about sample availability. To learn more, see the Copernicus news release or the Copernicus Manuscript Preparation Guidelines for Authors (sample availability section).



March 2017

Mar 2017. SESAR has released 4 video tutorials listed below on sample registration on the IEDA YouTube Channel. The videos are aimed at simplifying the registration process and addressing frequently-asked questions. We plan to continue to grow our video tutorial collection, so please keep an eye on the SESAR YouTube Playlist for more. Tutorials will also be posted at If you have questions or suggestions for new tutorials, please contact us at


Mar 2017. In a recent EOS Project Update, the Marine Annually Resolved Proxy Archives (MARPA) project became the most recent group to recommend the use of the International Geo Sample Number (IGSN) for uniquely identifying and properly documenting physical samples. MARPA specifically recommended the use of IEDA's sample registry, SESAR. The article highlighted the ease of registering and documenting samples in SESAR and showcased some of the SESAR's sample management tools (label printing, etc.). The MARPA project is an NSF EarthCube initiative that aims to build consensus around best practices for sample and data sharing, particularly within the the paleoceanography and paleoclimatology communities, where sample and data management has largely been left up to individual researchers, with samples stored in individual labs and documented only on personal computers or in field notebooks. Read the full article here.


As pictured above, the use of SESAR and the IGSN allowed the Lamont-Doherty Core Repository to better document, label, and organize their sample (in this case, coral) collections.



Dassié, Emilie, et al. (2017), Saving our marine archives, Eos, 98,

March 2016

Mar 2016. SESAR version 6.4 beta is released, which includes many new features and improvements. Some highlights:


  • You can now assign permissions to others to view, edit, and/or register sample metadata on your behalf. This substantial new functionality is described in more detail here.
  • You can now contact the owner of a sample by selecting the option at the bottom of each public sample profile.
  • SESAR samples can now be discovered through the IEDA Data Browser. Once a user selects samples of interest, he/she can click "Explore", which will take the user to the SESAR catalog to further define search criteria.
  • A new sample metadata update web service now exists for updating sample metadata in bulk programmatically.


Read all of the improvements at the SESAR Release Notes page.


If you have any questions or comments about the new features, please contact