A Digital Repository for Physical Samples: Concepts, Solutions and Management
Physical samples are important resources for sample-based data reuse. They may be utilized in the reproduction of scientific findings, depending on their availability and accessibility. Although several solutions have been developed to curate and publish digital collections (e.g., publications and datasets), considerably less attention has been paid to providing access to physical samples, and linking them to data, reports, and other resources on the Internet. Some progress has been made to bring physical samples into the digital world; for example, through the web-identifier schemes, sample metadata standards and catalogues, and specimen digitization. Existing studies based on the above examples are either project or domain-specific. Also, a particular challenge exists in providing citable and resolvable identifiers for physical samples outside the context of an individual project or a sample data repository. Within the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), further work is needed in order to connect the various types of physical samples collected by different entities (individual researchers, projects and laboratories) to the Web, and enable their discovery. We address this need through the development a digital repository of physical samples. This paper presents technical and non-technical components of the repository. They were applied to unambiguously identify the various physical samples and to systematically provide continuous online access to their metadata and data.
KeywordsPhysical sample Specimen Persistent identifier IGSN Sample data curation Institutional repository
The IGSN implementation in CSIRO is part of the Research Data Services (RDS) project funded by the Department of Education as part of their Education Investment Fund (EIF) Super Science Initiative. The Capricorn Distal Footprints was funded by the Science and Industry Endowment Fund as part of The Distal Footprints of Giant Ore Systems: UNCOVER Australia Project (RP04-063).
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