Latest News

March 2016

Mar 2016. SESAR Release 6.4 introduced substantial new functionality to support sample metadata access, editing, and registration permissions. The new features enable a SESAR account owner to give varying levels of permission to others to view, edit, and/or register sample metadata on behalf of the account owner.
These new features were developed in response to user requests to share private metadata with select individuals and to share edit or registration permissions with, for example, a student that may help a SESAR user manage their samples for a period of time. You can give these privileges to others for an indefinite or set period of time. You can change the level of permissions or remove permission entirely at any point.
There are four levels of permissions that you can give to others for your user codes:

  1. Read: Give permissions to others to view the metadata for all of your samples under a specific user code, regardless of whether the sample metadata are public or private.
  2. Read, Edit: In addition to privileges listed in #1, give permissions to others to edit the sample metadata profiles for your samples.
  3. Read, Edit, Create: In addition to privileges listed in #1 and #2, give permissions to others to register samples under your user code (namespace) through both individual and batch sample registration.
  4. Read, Edit, Create, Delete: In addition to privileges listed in #1, #2, and #3, give permissions to others to request de-activation of sample metadata profiles. Sample de-activation should be rare, except in the case of an error or a test or duplicate profile.

To share permissions for your user code(s), please be sure that the person you would like to give permissions to has registered for a GeoPass account. Then, please log into MySESAR and click "Set Permission for my User code" under My Account. You will need to know the GeoPass ID (email address) of the person you would like to share permissions with.
If you have questions or comments about the new capabilities or SESAR in general, please contact

January 2016

Jan 2016. In an EOS article published on Jan 7, 2016, Brooks Hanson, Director of AGU Publications, strongly encourages the use of the International GeoSample Number (IGSN) in journal papers. Hanson recognizes that including IGSNs in publications provides provenance information to readers, and more importantly links analyses of the same sample across the literature, ultimately fostering greater discovery.

The recommendations to use the IGSN to uniquely identify samples is part of a broader effort to incorporate open community identifiers, including ORCIDs (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) for authors and Fundref IDs for funders into publications. AGU Publications acknowledges that the use of these identifiers will simplify the manuscript submission and review process in the future. To read the full article, click here.
AGU Publications is just one of 36 signatories of the Statement of Commitment from Earth and Space Science Publishers and Data Facilities, which includes a commitment to, "promote the use of relevant community permanent identifiers for samples (IGSN), researchers (ORCID), and funders and grants (FundRef)."
Hanson, B. (2016), AGU opens its journals to author identifiers, Eos, 97, doi:10.1029/2016EO043183. Published on 7 January 2016.

November 2015

Nov 2015. If you are working with Earth and environmental samples as a researcher, educator, curator, data manager, software developer or architect, or as a publisher, please join us for an information and discussion forum on Sunday, December 13th, 4:00pm PST, at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, Walnut Room; 780 Mission St., San Francisco, CA.
This forum is organized jointly by the EarthCube iSamples Research Coordination Network, the IGSN e.V. (International Geo Sample Number), and the System for Earth Sample Registration (SESAR) with the intent to provide an opportunity for you to:
  • learn about these organizations and how they support digital and physical sample management, sample citation in publications, developing a global sample catalog, and more
  • tell us about the challenges you encounter with your sample collections, their curation, documentation, and preservation.
  • engage in the iSamples RCN,
  • find out how to become a user of the IGSN or member of the IGSN e.V.,
  • check out tools that SESAR offers to help you manage your samples.

Please let us know if you are planning to attend (RSVP by email to or simply stop by. Refreshments will be available.

Learn more about the organizers:

  • iSamples (Internet of Samples in the Earth Sciences) is an EarthCube NSF-funded Research Coordination Network (RCN) that seeks to advance the use of innovative cyberinfrastructure to connect physical samples and sample collections across the Earth Sciences with digital data infrastructures to revolutionize their utility for science. The ultimate goal of the RCN is to dramatically improve the discovery, access, sharing, analysis, and curation of physical samples and the data generated by their study.
  • The IGSN e.V.the International Geo Sample Number (IGSN) Implementation Organization, provides the organizational and technical backbone for scientific communities to apply the IGSN, a globally unique and resolvable, actionable, and persistent identifier for physical sample materials that allows investigators to locate, identify, and cite physical samples with confidence.
  • SESAR (System for Earth Sample Registration) is a web-based registry that distributes the IGSN for samples and related sampling features from the Ocean, Earth, and Polar Sciences. SESAR’s objective is to promote sharing, linking, and integration of sample-based data through the use of the IGSN.


August 2015

Aug 2015. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History recently registered nearly 350,000 samples with IGSNs in SESAR, including specimens from the National Gem, National Mineral, and National Rock Collections. The inclusion of these samples in SESAR greatly enhances the discoverability of these valuable collections*. Furthermore, since data exists for many of these samples in PetDB, the IGSNs can now be added and used to link samples to analyses in different publications regardless of sample naming conventions of individual authors. Click here to view an example sample profile in SESAR, including a link to the Smithsonian Collections web pages. To view all samples, search the catalog for samples beginning with the namespace 'NHB'.


These registrations took advantage of the SESAR Web Services, which are documented here.



*Please note that the use of IGSNs in publications, alone, does not fulfill the Smithsonian loan policy stating that samples must be referenced by museum catalog numbers. Authors should include both museum catalog numbers and IGSNs.

July 2015

Jul 2015. SESAR version 6.3 is released, which includes many new features and improvements. Some highlights:


  • You can now set the metadata for your profiles to public or private in your MySESAR Sample list. Just check or uncheck the checkbox at the far right to hide or reveal the metadata of your sample to the public.
  • UTM Zones now accept the more popular syntax of using zones A-Z instead of just N and S. We found that most users employed the A-Z syntax.
  • The web services have many improvements due to user requests. These include IGSN return by a map polygon, IGSN return by the field program or cruise, JSON format support of sample profiles, and the return of a tree structure showing parent, sibling, and child related samples. Read more about the SESAR web services API.


Read all of the improvements at the SESAR Release Notes page


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

June 2015

Jun 2015. The International Implementation Organization for the IGSN (IGSN e.V.) invites applications for new members before its next vote in Fall 2015. The IGSN Implementation Organization operates the international IGSN registration service, and implements and promotes standard methods to locate, identify, and cite physical samples with confidence.


Membership in the IGSN Implementation Organization is open to organizations who wish to run their own IGSN allocating service. Organizations who have an interest in the purpose and objectives of the IGSN Implementation Organization (but do not plan to become an IGSN allocating agent) are welcome as Affiliate Members with an advisory function and the right to attend the General Assembly. The amount and due date of annual membership fees will be determined by the General Assembly. The membership fee is currently 500 euros per year.


Membership applications are due by August 1, 2015, to allow time for review before the next vote, but contact if you have plans to apply and need more time.

More information about the IGSN (International Geo Sample Number) is available at:

April 2015

Apr 2015. SESAR version 6.2 is released, which includes many new features and improvements in response to user requests.


One area of major improvement is in the web services for programmatically registering samples. Read about SESAR web services API documentation.


Other major improvements include the addition of new metadata fields requested by researchers from the Critical Zone Observatories (CZO) (e.g. CZO researchers have many terrestrial samples and requested the ability to store UTM coordinates).


Another major area of improvement is more robust error-checking during batch and individual sample registration, to ensure that the data entered into the database is aligned.


Read all of the improvements at the SESAR Release Notes page


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

Apr 2015. There will be a splinter meeting at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2015. Members of the IGSN e.V. will be in attendance.
What: A discussion of Digital Representation of Physical Samples in Scientific Publications
When: Monday, 13 April, 17:30-19:00
Where: Room R10
We invite anybody who is concerned with physical samples collected in the Earth Sciences and how to best integrate these samples with digital data and information infrastructure. The objective of this meeting is to discuss recent advances in leading practices of unambiguously linking physical samples to the data and literature derived on them, and encourage their adoption. This meeting is organized by the leadership team of the International Geo Sample Number Implementation Organization, IGSN e.V. (
For more information, please contact Kerstin Lehnert.

February 2015

Feb 2015. The number of new samples registered in SESAR over the last four months was more than triple that registered over the same period of time last year. In addition to an increase in registrations and batches submitted, there has also been an increase in the number of different namespaces (owned by individuals or institutions) being used to register samples.
From Oct. 2013 to Feb. 2014, 8,817 samples from 21 namespaces were registered. Over that period of time, 33 batch registration templates were uploaded.
From Oct. 2014 to Feb. 2015, 29,084 samples (+230%) from 36 namespaces (+70%) were registered. Over that period of time, 96 batch registration templates (+190%) were uploaded.
The increases seen in SESAR registrations show that more researchers and organizations are finding SESAR and the IGSN to be useful tools for managing their physical samples and the metadata pertaining to them, as well as for making their physical samples discoverable in the global SESAR sample catalog. To learn more about the benefits of SESAR and the IGSN and how to start registering your physical samples, please visit and see the tutorials at

January 2015

Jan 2015. We are collecting photos of IGSN labels in action! As our International GeoSample Number community grows, IGSNs are being used for an increasing number of cases. Core pieces, diamonds, water samples, cuttings... let's share how we're using the IGSN with our samples.


Submit your photos by tweeting to @igsn_info or emailing