Globally unique persistent identifiers for physical samples

An International Geo Sample Number (IGSN) provides an unambiguous globally unique persistent identifier for physical samples. The ARDC’s IGSN service facilitates the location, identification, and citation of physical samples used in research.

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 contact us to register your interest.

The IGSN Service:

  • May be used, at no cost, by sample holders and curators affiliated with Australian research organisations that do not offer their own IGSN minting service.
  • May 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.
  • Requires a minimum set of metadata to be provided.
  • Creates a link to a description of the registered sample.
  • Enables authors to cite samples in research publications.
  • Facilitates the linking of samples to related data, publications and people.

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.

Related topics

Learn more about the IGSN Service

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DOIs for data citation

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