Samples and collections are embedded into specific user communities and organisations. The abilities to provide metadata may vary considerably between communities. At the same time each community requires different metadata. At this level of detail, a “one size fits all” approach will not work. Therefore, the registration of samples, and their description in metadata, is delegated to members of the community. These communities are federated in domain specific portals.
Clients register samples together with metadata through their Allocating Agents. The Allocating Agents registers the IGSN at the IGSN Registration Agency and keeps a catalogue of all samples registered through by this agent. The catalogues of registered samples are harvested and compiled into metadata portals to make samples searchable and accessible.