IGSN ID for samples

IGSN ID (International Generic Sample Number) is a unique and permanent identifier for physical samples (e.g. rocks, water, soil). IGSN can be used as a standard method for their identification, citation and reliable localization.

The IGSN ID preserves the identity of the sample even as it moves from laboratory to laboratory and data appear in different publications, removing the ambiguity that results from similar sample names. IGSN ID allows researchers to track the analytical history of a sample and build on previously collected data when developing new procedures. In addition, IGSN ID provides a link between disparate data generated by different researchers and published in different scientific papers.

Example of IGSN ID: SSH000SUA. Information about this sample can be obtained via the URL of handle: http://hdl.handle.net/10273/SSH000SUA or DOI: https://doi.org/10273/SSH000SUA.

The digital representation of the sample material is the landing page, which displays the sample description identified by the IGSN ID. The presentation of metadata on should include as many elements as possible to improve the findability and distinguishability of each sample. For example: sample images, sample location maps, relationships to other samples, related data, publications, organisations/persons.

Assigning IGSN ID

The IGSN is operated by the International Generic Sample Number Organisation (IGSN e.V.), an international registration agency. Organisations wishing to assign an IGSN must pay an annual membership fee to the IGSN e.V. Thanks to the partnership between IGSN e.V. and DataCite, IGSN IDs can now also be registered through DataCite and used in any industry to identify physical objects. You can easily register IGSN IDs if you are a member of the National DOI Centre.

An IGSN ID can be assigned to a material sample at any stage of its life cycle, but the most effective way to avoid ambiguity is to use the IGSN ID as early as possible. It is strongly recommended to assign an IGSN to a material sample as soon as it is collected in the field or synthesised in the laboratory.

Registering an IGSN ID for a material sample links the physical world to the digital world, creating a long-term digital footprint that can outlive the sample itself. It provides proof that the sample exists and also preserves information that helps ensure that research investments are not lost and supports potential future research. This is particularly important for rare or unique samples.

In the DataCite metadata schema, IGSN identifiers allow a material sample to be linked to other entities by reference to their PIDs using relatedIdentifier and describe the nature of the relationship with the sample via relationType. IGSN identifiers are also functional links that can be incorporated into publications and datasets and linked to contextual information in online sample descriptions stored in metadata records or landing pages. They can also be included in the metadata of datasets, enabling their retrieval in research data repositories and metadata harvesting portals.

For more information on the use and registration of IGSN IDs, please visit the DataCite website. You can get the information about using IGSN ID in the recording of the webinar IGSN IDs – All Sample Types, All Disciplines.

Used sources:
About IGSN IDs for Material Samples. DataCite Support [online]. Hannover: DataCite, 2023 [cit. 2023-08-08]. Dostupné z: https://support.datacite.org/docs/about-igsn-ids-for-material-samples
IGSN ID Use Cases. DataCite Support [online]. Hannover: DataCite, 2023 [cit. 2023-08-08]. Dostupné z: https://support.datacite.org/docs/igsn-id-use-cases