iSamples Home > iSamples Project Summary
The Internet of Samples in the Earth Sciences (iSamples)
The iSamples RCN seeks to advance the use of innovative cyberinfrastructure to connect physical samples and sample collections across the Earth Sciences with digital data infrastructures to revolutionize their utility for science. The ultimate goal of this RCN is to dramatically improve the discovery, access, sharing, analysis, and curation of physical samples and the data generated by their study for the benefit of science and society.
Why are samples relevant?
Samples in the Earth Sciences are key to understanding the Earth's dynamical systems, its history, and its evolution: from cores drilled in the deep seafloor or in arctic glaciers to rock, mineral, and fossil specimens collected on volcanoes, in mines, and on mountain cliffs, to synthetic specimens generated during experiments in the lab, to water samples from streams and remote rivers. These samples provide a basis for progress across many disciplines, from the study of global climate change now and over the Earth's history, to present and past biogeochemical cycles, to magmatic processes and mantle dynamics.
What are the objectives of the iSamples RCN?
- Build, grow, and foster a community of practice in which domain scientists, curators, and managers of samples repositories and collections, computer and information scientists, tool developers, and technology innovators engage in and collaborate on defining, articulating, and addressing the needs and challenges of physical samples as part of digital data and information infrastructures
- Develop a community-endorsed vision of a shared cyberinfrastructure and related physical infrastructure for samples in the digital era, defining necessary capabilities, architecture, governance, and business models, and to create a roadmap toward realizing this vision
- Establish and promote best practices and standards for sample identification, documentation, citation, curation, and sharing across the entire Earth Science community as a foundation for building a shared cyberinfrastructure
- Evaluate existing technologies, architectures, and tools that facilitate the management of samples, sample collections, and sample-based data in the field, in the lab, in repositories, in data systems, and in scientific publications, and identify critical gaps and needs
- Establish a development and implementation plan that comprises a set of immediate next steps and identifies options for funding future developments.
- Coordinate with digital sample management and cyberinfrastructure initiatives in other disciplines and internationally.
What will the iSamples RCN do for EarthCube?
The iSamples RCN will build a new community of practice to advance digital access to samples through socialization, knowledge creation, and best practices. Theme-specific activities will include Stakeholder Alignment (socialization), the creation of the iSamples Semantic Wiki (knowledge creation), the creation of the Registry of Earth Science Collections (knowledge creation), and the engagement of early career scientists in order to transform sample and data practices by this community (best practices).
Planned activities include surveys and questionnaires, workshops, and "Town Hall" events at various meetings including AGU, ESIP, and GSA. The RCN will specifically target early career scientists and engage the international community.
More than 80 stakeholders from the domain, computer, and information sciences, including repository and collection curators, have already asserted their participation in the iSamples RCN.