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U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2006-1187

Archival Policies and Collections Database for the Woods Hole Science Center's Marine Sediment Samples


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Sample Acquisition & Registration

Incoming Samples

One of the WHSC's primary methods of obtaining field data is through the collection of sediment samples. This is accomplished by the use of corers, grabs, dredges and other devices designed for the purpose of seabed sampling.

Once the samples have been collected, it is essential to preserve their physical integrity. The facilities in the WHSC sediment archives provide conditions that impede the growth of organics as well as preserve the samples in the physical state in which they were collected.

Reserving Storage Space

It is the responsibility of the project scientist to ensure that there is ample storage space to accommodate the incoming samples before collection commences.

The Principal Investigator (PI) should contact the curator to inform him that they will be collecting samples at least two weeks before the field work begins. The scientist should also give the curator an approximate number of samples to be recovered and what type of storage will be required. The curator will then make appropriate arrangements to house the incoming samples.

During this two-week time period, the curator will reserve space for the new samples and notify the project scientist where their samples will be stored upon return.

Preliminary Inventorying

After the field activity has been completed and the samples have been placed in storage, the curator will inventory the samples collected and log this inventory into the sediment archive database. Preliminary inventories shall include: sample number, field activity number, platform, positional data, navigational method, Principal Investigator (PI), storage location, and date of accession.

Archiving Metadata

Within one month from the date of storage, the collecting scientist must submit pertinent metadata relating to the collection and condition of the samples to the curator for addition into the sediment archive database.

Submission of data can be made in various ways. The recommended method is for researching parties to send field data electronically directly to the curator promptly after returning from the field. Spreadsheets can be sent, and a Microsoft Excel template is available from the WHSC's archive Web page, as well as included in this report. The data submitted in this form will be sent to the curator for addition to the preliminary inventory. These data will then be made available online to all parties for inquiry and accession of the physical samples through the center's internal archive Web site.

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