Latest News

April 2013

Apr 2013. Video, presentations, and Q&A are now available from the March 27 Introduction to the IGSN Webinar! Thanks to everyone who participated in the lively Q&A.

  • Introduction: Why use the IGSN? and What is the IGSN? [pdf]
  • How to participate and become a user [pdf]
  • Webinar Q & A [html]
  • Video [.mov,  70 MB] (depending on your settings, this might play automatically in your web browser upon click, you can also right-click to Save File on your local drive)

March 2013

Mar 2013. SESAR version 4.2 is released and provides several new features and bug fixes. Additionally, now you can post and vote on future functionality in SESAR.


New features:

  1. Collection Time is read in from the batch registration sheet in the format HH:MM:SS UTC. See the SESAR Quick Guide for more information. 
  2. Classification search is enhanced to now return all hierarchically-lower categories in addition to the category itself. e.g. A search for "Igneous>Volcanic" will return "Igneous>Volcanic>Mafic", "Igneous>Volcanic>Intermediate" and "Igneous>Volcanic>Felsic" as well.
  3. More information (Material and Classification) is shown in the list view of MySESAR and search results.


Bug fixes:

  1. The Map Search has been updated to correctly return results by both map polygon and user-entered N-S-E-W bounding values.
  2. Private samples are now linked correctly to the detailed sample profile from MySESAR.
  3. Individual batch registration hover-over definitions are properly aligned. 
  4. Individual batch registration "Ready?" button at the bottom of the webform directs to the correct sample profile display instead of a blank page. 
  5. The primary image thumbnail of a sample correctly displays at the top of the sample profile. 
  6. IGSN case insensitivity is correctly deployed to more features in SESAR.  (If you previously had any lowercase IGSNs, please contact if you have questions.)


Future fixes:

  • Visit the IEDA feedback page to post or vote on suggestions for more SESAR functionality. Just click on the "Post a new idea" link or a "Vote" button to provide your feedback.


Mar 2013. Due to the interest in information about SESAR and the IGSN expressed at the EarthCube P&G workshop, we have set up a webinar, during which we will provide an overview of the IGSN ( and the System for Earth Sample Registration ( We will demonstrate how you can register your samples, how you can use the IGSN and SESAR to manage, cite, and track your samples and how your sample registration will contribute to building a global sample catalog.
For more information, contact
Title: Introduction to the IGSN (International Geo Sample Number): Physical Samples as Part of Cyberinfrastructure
Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Time: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM EDT
The webinar materials (presentations, Q&A, and video) are posted at the SESAR documentation page.
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

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.