Latest News

March 2013

Mar 2013. There will be a splinter meeting at the European Geosciences Union (EGU) General Assembly 2013 to discuss physical samples in the digital era.
What: A discussion about Physical Samples in the Digital Era
When: Thursday, 11 April, 15:30-17:00
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 standards and best practices for the registration and identification of samples, their documentation, and their curation to ensure discovery, access, and preservation of both the physical samples and of the virtual representation of the samples in digital data systems.
For more information, please contact Kerstin Lehnert.

January 2013

Jan 2013. SESAR version 4.1 features improved time zone display, label printing capability, and more help for batch registration templates. 


New features:

  • Time zone display is now in UTC (Universal Time Coordinated). The display on sample profile pages follows ISO-8601.
  • Label printing is implemented in MySESAR. Users have the option to select certain samples and print labels for them. More information here.
  • Batch registration template Quick Guide instructions are now included with each new download of a Batch Registration Template.


Bug fixes:

  • The sample delete button at the bottom of a user's sample profiles now leads to the correct page for requesting sample delete.


November 2012

Nov 2012. Town Hall Meeting at the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco


Physical Samples as Part of Cyberinfrastructure

When? Monday, Dec 3, 2012, 12:30-13:30h
Where? Marriott Hotel - Foothill F


Webinar information
Register now by clicking the link below:

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.


1. Upcoming EarthCube workshops with relation to samples
2. Information & update about the International Geo Sample Number IGSN
3. Discussion and plans for the 'Digital Environment for Sample Curation'


For questions, please contact Kerstin Lehnert (

Nov 2012. Sample metadata from the Marine Geoscience Data System (MGDS) have been migrated into SESAR as part of the consolidation of sample cataloging within the Integrated Earth Data Applications (IEDA) facility. MGDS provides access to data portals for the NSF-supported Ridge 2000 and MARGINS, and GeoPRISMS programs, the Antarctic and Southern Ocean Data Synthesis, and the Academic Seismic Portal. There are over 14,000 sample metadata profiles registered with IGSNs under the namespace MGD.


Use the SESAR Catalog Search Advanced Search options to find metadata profiles of specific cruises, platforms or collectors. 


Investigators that own the physical samples in the MGD collection are encouraged to register an account with SESAR, which will enable them to organize their samples under their own workspace, edit metadata profiles, and directly register additional sample metadata. Please contact us at if you would like to transfer your sample metadata from the MGDS ownership into your own account.  

Nov 2012. How many sample metadata profiles are in SESAR?


In 2011, 12,044 new sample profiles were registered under 27 different namespaces.


To date in 2012, 15,132 new sample profiles have been registered under 35 different namespaces.


There are currently a total of 3,634,022 sample metadata profiles registered in SESAR. See the figure below for the number of registered samples per namespace on a semilog plot. Thirteen namespaces have over 1000 registered samples! In the coming months we will feature some of our largest collections.



September 2012

Sept 2012. SESAR is working with publishers to enhance the citation of samples in digital journals using the IGSN (International Geo Sample Number). An IGSN that is cited in a digital publication (in the text or in a table) will link to the sample's metadata record in the SESAR database, thus allowing readers to quickly access more detailed information about the sample such as its current archive and related samples and subsamples.


Our first agreement has been made with Elsevier, who provides the following guidelines for the use of IGSNs in manuscripts:


If you have registered your sample with the SESAR database and have received an IGSN for this sample, please tag any IGSNs in your manuscript so that Elsevier can link to this sample in SESAR if your paper is published online. To tag an IGSN, please use the syntax “IGSN: IGSN number” (example: “IGSN: HRV0035F0”).


Six pilot journals currently include the IGSN linking:


August 2012

August 2012. At the 34th International Geological Congress on Wednesday, August 8, 2012, two talks in session 5.2 "Information management - interoperability and standards: Data" , will focus on the IGSN:

  • "International Implementation of Registration and Identification Services for Physical Samples: the IGSN e.V". (K. Lehnert, 13:00h)
  • "Why uniquely identified spatially-located physical specimens are the virtual gold standard of the digital age" (Keynote, Clinton Foster, 13:15h)

Location: Bouleveard Meeting Room 3.

July 2012

July 2012. SESAR and the IGSN eV will hold a workshop at the upcoming 34th International Geological Congress 2012 in Brisbane, Australia, titled "The International Geo Sample Number:  Towards a Global Standard Method for Identifying, Locating & Citing Physical Samples". The workshop will take place on August 5, 2012, at the Congress venue (Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre) from 3 to 5pm. For more information about the workshop and how to register, please go to



  • 34th International Geological Congress, Brisbane Australia [folder link]
    • The International Geo Sample Number (IGSN), Lehnert [pdf]
    • Identifers in ISO and OGC, Cox [pdf]
    • Why Physical Samples are so Important in the Digital Age, Weyborn [pdf]

March 2012

March 2012. At the upcoming EGU General Assembly 2012 in Vienna, Austria, we will host a splinter meeting (SPM1.20) about the the new architecture and governance of the International Geo Sample Number. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, April 23, 19-20h, in room SM2. Please, join us.

February 2012

February 2012. SESAR version 3.8 features an improved search interface, QR codes for IGSN metadata profiles, downloadable lists of complete metadata profiles, new metadata fields, and several bug fixes.


New features:

  • Improved Search Interface: The Advanced Settings panel now auto-completes searches for Registrant, Collector, Archive, Field Program/Cruise, Platform Name, and Collection Method. In addition, by clicking View list, the user can view all possible entries that exist in SESAR. There is a new option to search by registration date of the sample.
  • QR code has replaced the barcode: On the sample profile, the barcode has been replaced with a 2-D QR (quick response) code. This QR code, if snapped with a QR reader (for example, on smartphones), will resolve to the URL of the sample profile.
  • New metadata fields: New metadata fields, have been added to the Sample Profile: Launch, Launch Type, Launch ID, Navigation Type, Purpose. See their definitions on the vocabulary page.
  • Download complete metadata option: You can now download the complete metadata list from MySESAR and search results. Just click “Download extended list”
  • More help with sample registration: More information has been added to help you to register samples, suggested and controlled vocabulary lists are posted on the help page. Please visit:


Bug fixes: 

  • The IGSN Search box on the upper-right hand corner of the SESAR home page returns existing samples only, not empty profiles.
  • The Download Sample List option in MySESAR and on search result pages can now download more than 100 samples.


Please contact with any comments or suggestions.