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IGSN Sample Registration Services @ GFZ

Metadata Submission Guide

You can submit your sample metadata for IGSN registration to GFZ Data Services as follows: 

  1. Download the FAIR SAMPLES Template from Zenodo.
  2. Open the template using MS Excel or Libre Office and read the instructions in the worksheet “HowTo”. You can find more help here and in the Youtube Video Tutorial.
  3. Make yourself familiar with the variables available in the worksheet “Guide” and select the fields required for the description of your samples. The selected variables will appear as column headers in the sample description templates “Parent” to “Child3”. Note that mandatory fields are preselected and must be filled in the templates.
  4. Fill the worksheet “Parent” and, optionally, “Child1”, “Child2” and “Child3” with your metadata.
  5. Send the filled Excel file and any questions via email to
  6. You will be receiving a response from us with suggestions on how to further standardise your sample metadata to make it more human- and machine readable.
  7. Please check and edit the dataset attached in the response mail and send a confirmation or change requests. This step is typically an iterative process and requires some correspondence.
  8. After your final confirmation, the samples will be registered with IGSN and listed in the GFZ Data Services Sample Catalogue and in DataCite Commons.

IGSN Metadata

IGSNs resolve to persistent landing pages, which are managed by IGSN Agents. The landing pages display structured sample descriptions following the dedicated IGSN metadata schema.

The modular IGSN Metadata Schema used today consists of the IGSN Description Metadata schema that was developed by IGSN members with inputs from their Earth and Environmental sciences communities (Klump et al., 2021). The IGSN Description Schema contains persistent information about registered samples, such as temporal and spatial coordinates of sample acquisition, metadata about involved institutions and sample-requesting scientists, information about the sample material, collection methods, and alternate or related identifiers. It is based on the principles of the DataCite Metadata Schema and modified in terms of cardinality and restrictions on particular metadata elements, while new elements (e.g., geolocation, collection methods, materials) were added to represent essential sample information that goes beyond the requirements of a bibliographic catalogue. It was deliberately kept general to allow the compilation of a global catalogue of, e.g., geological and biological samples and sample collections and is intended to be the common metadata kernel for all samples. 

The IGSN Description Schema is complemented by sample-type-, community, or -discipline-specific metadata where granular additional descriptions can be provided (IGSN Supplementary Metadata).