The International Geo Sample Number IGSN: Advancing Integration of Sample-Based Data in Data Systems for Chronostratigraphy and Geochronology
Kerstin Lehnert, Steven L. Goldstein, Sri Vinayagamoorthy, and W. Christopher Lenhardt
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University, Palisades, NY
Data on samples are key to our knowledge of the Earth's history and evolution. Chronostratigraphy and and geochronology are based on the study of samples. Different data types are generated for individual samples, and managed in different databases on a global scale. The usefulness of these data is critically dependent on their integration. Integration can be achieved within the Geoscience Cyberinfrastructure, but requires unambiguous identification of samples on a global scale. Currently, our ability to share, link, and integrate sample-based data is limited by arbitrary and inconsistent naming of samples. Major problems include name duplication, and changing of names as a sample is passed along over many years to different investigators. SESAR, the System for Earth Sample Registration (http://www.geosamples.org), is building a web-based registry that generates and administers globally unique identifiers for Geoscience samples: the International Geo Sample Number (IGSN). The implementation of the IGSN in data publication and digital data management will dramatically advance interoperability among information systems for sample-based data, opening an extensive range of new opportunities for discovery and interdisciplinary approaches in research. SESAR can be accessed by individual users through an interactive web interface and by client systems via standard web services. Samples can be registered individually or in batches and at various levels of granularity from entire cores or sample suites to individual samples to sub-samples such as splits and separates. Relationships between 'parent' and 'child' samples are tracked. The system generates bar codes that users can download as images for labeling purposes.