IGSN Technical Documentation of the IGSN

IGSN Documentation

This wiki documents the organisation and technical aspects of the IGSN. General information about the IGSN and the IGSN Implementation Organization e.V. can be found at http://www.igsn.org.

  • Overview: What is the IGSN is and how does it work?
  • Organisation and Governance: How does the governance of IGSN work? What is the IGSN Implementation Organization e.V.?
  • Membership: Which organisations are members of IGSN e.V.?

IGSN and DataCite

In September 2021, IGSN and DataCite signed a Memorandum of Agreement between the two organisations towards a partnership that intends to support the global adoption, implementation, and use of physical sample identifiers. This collaboration is aligned with our respective missions and brings together the strengths of each organization for the benefit of the research community.


The IGSN is a persistent unique identifier for physical samples and specimens that eliminates the problems associated with the ambiguous naming of samples. Because of its origin from the geosciences, its original name was the Internationa Geo Sample Number. Since then the scope of IGSN has been expanded to any physical specimen.

The IGSN registration service will facilitate the discovery, access, and sharing of samples, ensure preservation and access of sample data, aid identification of samples in the literature, and advance the exchange of digital sample data among interoperable data systems, thus maximizing the utility of samples for research, education, and society.

  • Syntax: Guidelines for forming IGSN for registration.
  • Metadata: Metadata for registration of IGSN and for description of samples.
  • Namespaces: This is how we govern namespaces for IGSN. List of IGSN namespaces currently in use.

IGSN Technical Implementation

Please note! IGSN and DataCite have entered an agreement that will transfer the service of mining IGSN identifiers into the DataCite infrastructure. Many technical details outlined in this wiki will change after December 2021.

IGSN - International GeoSample Number Implementation Organization e.V.

The IGSN eV is an international non-profit organization that aims to implement and promote standard methods for locating, identifying, and citing physical samples collected from our natural environment, by operating an international registration service for the IGSN with a distributed, sustainable infrastructure for use by and benefit to its members.

  • Statutes of the IGSN Implementation Organization e.V. (IGSN e.V.)
  • Membership list and how to become a member of IGSN e.V.
  • Allocating Agents: Information about function and duties of IGSN Allocating Agents.
  • Minutes from meetings and telecons
  • Publications on IGSN and related literature

Membership in the IGSN e.V. is open to all organizations that wish to allocate IGSNs and use the Registration Agency of the IGSN e.V. in their capacity as Allocating Agents. Affiliate Membership with an advisory function is offered to organizations, who do not wish to use the IGSN eV Registration Agency as an allocating agent, but who have an interest in promoting and supporting the purposes of the IGSN e.V.



IGSN e.V. Management Office: info@igsn.org

Postal address:

c/o German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ
14473 Potsdam