Latest News

November 2012

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.

December 2011

December 2011. On December 7, 2011, representatives from an international group of academic institutions and federal and state agencies founded the international implementation organization for the International Geo Sample Number IGSN, the IGSN e.V. The meeting took place in San Francisco, California, in conjunction with the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union. Nine founding members approved and signed the statutes and elected the first Executive Board of the IGSN e.V. (President: Kerstin Lehnert, Vice-President/Deputy President: Jens Klump, Vice-President/Treasurer: Catherine Constable). For more information, please visit the new web site of the IGSN e.V. at

November 2011

November 2011. At the upcoming AGU Fall Meeting 2011 in San Francisco, a new international organization will be founded, the IGSN eV, to govern and advance implementation of the International Geo Sample Number IGSN as a unique identifier for samples and specimens collected from our natural environment.

The creation of the IGSN eV represents a pivotal step for the IGSN toward becoming an international standard for sample identification and registration. The IGSN eV will be an incorporated non-profit organization under German law (gemeinnütziger eingetragener Verein), established at the German Geoscience Research Center (GFZ) in Potsdam. The founding members of the IGSN eV will meet on December 7, 2011, in San Francisco to approve and sign the statutes of the organization, vote on the members of the Executive Committee, and authorize the committee to register the society with the Court of Registry under German law.


Founding members of the IGSN eV will be:

  • Boise State University, USA
  • City College of New York, City University of New York, US
  • College of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, US
  • Geoscience Research Center (GFZ) Potsdam, Germany
  • IFM-GEOMAR, University of Kiel, Germany
  • LacCore, University of Minnesota, USA
  • Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, USA
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, USA
  • US Geological Survey, USA

January 2011

Geological samples collected as part of the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) Project will be registered with SESAR and will receive IGSNs, as outlined in the U.S. ECS Policy for Data, Publications, and Physical Samples. SESAR is working with the data management team of the U.S. Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) Project at the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) to develop an ISO standard based metadata template for geologic bottom sample information that will meet the needs for the U.S. ECS efforts and for the UNOLS and IODP requirements. The template will be developed under the leadership of the ECS data management team at NGDC and in coordination with LDEO as the academic lead and will align with data description standards in use for both the SESAR and IODP efforts.

The U.S. Extended Continental Shelf (ECS) Project is a multi-agency collaboration whose goals are to determine and define the extent of the U.S. continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles (nm).