IGSN Technical Documentation of the International Geo Sample Number

2016-07-18 Telecon

IGSN Telecon 2016-07-18 09:00 EDT

Participants: Kerstin Lehnert, Jens Klump, Anusuriya Devaraju, Dough Fils, Brent McInnes, Uli Harms, Hans-Joachim Wallrabe-Adams, Lesley Wyborn, Anders Noren, Jong Gyu Han, Damian Ulbricht, Gary Berg-Cross, Jason Ash, John Wieczorek, Irina Bastrakova, Doris Maicher, Dirk Fleischer.


  • Agree on a procedure for finalising the IGSN description metadata schema
  • Discuss possible dates for next face-to-face meetings

IGSN Description Schema

Issues To be resolved in IGSN description schema:

  • Roles in schema need to be revised
  • Geometries in GML should allow other projections besides WGS84

The descriptive schema is a common denominator for harvesting metadata into general federated sample catalogues. This schema is not specific to particular use cases and enables only fairly basic searches. More specific schemas can be offered by Allocating Agents for specific use cases, e.g. Ice cores, basalts, mantle xenoliths.

The participants agreed to finalise the IGSN description schema within the next two weeks. Members are asked to review the schema draft at http://GitHub.com/IGSN/metadata/dev/descriptive and submit change proposals through the GitHub issue tracker. The schema will be finalised by E-mail vote, if possible.

Vocabulary Development

The participants agreed that the schema and its controlled vocabularies should be revised and updated regularly (6 or 12 months). The IGSN technical group was tasked to propose a process for the further development of controlled vocabularies used by IGSN. Where possible, existing international vocabularies should be reused. To make best use of the expertise available in the group, it was proposed to appoint a custodian for each vocabulary.

Lesley Wyborn suggested to ask Steve Richard for advice on the harmonisation of GeoSciML and ODM2 and see how this could benefit the further development of the IGSN description schema.

Further Development of Documentation

To make it easier for developers, in IGSN and external, to develop applications and services that make use of the IGSN system, the existing documentation should be developed further to include a documentation of the API, use cases, and tutorials.

Next In-Person Meetings

Due to the significant travel overhead, the most feasible way to arrange a face-to-face meeting is in conjunction with international conferences.

Kerstin Lehnert suggests to have a short meeting during the International Data Week in Denver, CO, in September 2016. Lesley Wyborn suggests to hold a workshop following International Data Week because some members might stay on to attend the GSA meeting.

SciDataCon 2016 (at International Data Week) will have a session on physical samples. The session is curated by Denise Hills and Colleen Strawhacker. Kerstin Lehnert and Jens Klump will speak with Denise during the ESIP Summer Meeting to coordinate activities.

The AGU Fall Meeting has a Public Affairs session on physical samples. This sessions should again be advertised to IGSN members. Also, PA sessions are exempt from the AGU first author rule.

Since the time constraints around the AGU Fall Meeting are difficult it might be easier to organise a workshop in conjunction with the EGU General Assembly. The aim is to get potential new members and multipliers involved. Splinter meeting might not be the best format, rather a workshop aimed at new and potential members. This workshop should focus on the registration process to help IGSN members establish registration services.

IGSN e.V. and DataCite

Kerstin Lehnert suggests that IGSN should review the possibility of becoming a member of DataCite. Irrespective of the outcome of this discussion, IGSN should re-connect with DataCite, and the associated THOR project. Also, IGSN should reach out to the biodiversity, biology, and genomics communities.

IGSN Syntax Guidelines

IGSN syntax is still a matter of debate. The IGSN syntax guidelines give recommendations on the use of the IGSN syntax. The last item in this list might need to be revised to state that “agglutinating” syntax, I.e. Extending IGSN with suffixes, is not necessarily a good choice as it may result in too long IGSN. The reason is that users tend to abbreviate long sample names or replace them with shorter names. This has happened frequently with ODP names for samples, which was the original use case from which IGSN was developed. More use cases should be added to illustrate the use of IGSN in different domains and their adoption by users. Uli Harms suggests that ICDP projects like COSC might be a good example to document the use of IGSN in larger projects, such as scientific drilling projects.

A few use cases were also presented as posters at EGU 2016. These should be made available online.

Doug Fils, Jens Klump, Kerstin Lehnert and Bob Arko will discuss suggestions for the use of IGSN in IODP at ESIP.

Potential Funding for IGSN

To make communication, documentation and technical development more efficient, IGSN needs additional staff and therefore more external funding. Dirk Fleischer points out that IGSN is a perfect example for a community effort that could be funded by the Belmont Forum (pers comm Lee Allison at EGU). IGSN Members should contact their national representatives to find out how to engage with Belmont Forum.