International Generic Sample Number Service (IGSN)

Globally unique persistent identifiers for earth science samples.
International Generic Sample Number Service (IGSN)

An International Generic Sample Number (IGSN) provides an unambiguous globally unique and persistent identifier for physical samples.

The ARDC’s International Generic Sample Number service facilitates the location, identification and citation of physical samples used in research.

Who Can Use Our IGSN Service

This is a free service available to earth science sample holders and curators affiliated with Australian research organisations that do not offer their own IGSN minting service.

Our service can be used to assign IGSNs to geologic and environmental samples such as rocks, drill cores and soils as well as related sampling features such as sections, dredges, wells and drill holes.

Important note: While the ARDC’s IGSN service is currently limited to earth science samples, the ARDC is interested in working with other communities to extend the service for use with other physical sample types such as vegetation, archaeological and biological specimens. Please email us to register your interest.

Our IGSN service:

  • enables authors to cite samples in research publications
  • facilitates the linking of samples to related data, publications and people
  • creates a link to a description of the registered sample
  • requires a minimum set of metadata to be provided.

Ways of Using the Service

Web Interface

The ARDC’s IGSN service web interface is intended for users expecting to mint only a very small number of IGSNs, or as an interim arrangement while a machine-to-machine service is established using the API. The manual minting service can only mint a single IGSN at a time. Bulk IGSN minting is currently not supported.


The ARDC’s IGSN service API enables the creation of IGSNs via a machine-to-machine connection. The API is intended to be integrated with sample management software, automated sample creation services or other applications and workflows.

Contact the ARDC

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