Thinking about this category of metadata it seems to make sense to provide enough items so that a clear picture of the instrumental setup and configuration can be recorded.  Others looking at an analysis are mostly interested in being able to reproduce it and the more information they have the easier that will be.

  • instrument: the general type of instrument being used to the analysis (vocabulary) [10-12-14]
  • hyphenated instrument: the general type of hypenated instrument (e.g. GC-MS) being used to perform the analysis (string) [04-29-15]
  • apparatus: non-instrumental equipment used to do an analysis (string) (e.g. 50 mL burette, sintered glass crucible, etc.) [10-12-14]
  • manufacturer: the name of the manufacturer of the instrument being used (string) [03-01-15]
  • model number: the manufacturers model number used to identify the instrument (string) [03-01-15]
  • serial number: the serial number of the instrument (string) [03-01-15]
  • software name: name of the software used to run the instrument (plus any additional components) (string) [10-12-14]
  • software version: version of the software used to run the instrument (string) [10-12-14]
  • operating system: the operating system used to run the instrument software (including version #) (string) [10-12-14]
  • accessories: a list of any accessories installed onto the main instrument (e.g. autosampler, fraction collector, etc.) (string) [10-12-14]
  • configuration: a textual description of the (physical) configuration of the instrument, used to highlight any unique/interesting aspects of the system (string) [10-12-14]
  • settings: a textual list of the values used for important instrumental parameters (string) [10-12-14]

While a daunting task to begin with, coming up with the different analytical techniques for chemical analysis is not as bad as it could be.  There are plenty of textbooks to look at and the IUPAC Analytical Division has done a great job with the Orange Book (see below).  There are also a few of other websites listed below that have a lot of information to help organize this information.

Technique Categories

  • Chromatographic
  • Electrochemical
  • Microscopic
  • Spectrometric
  • Spectroscopic
  • Other Methods
    • Elemental Analysis
    • Enthalpimetry
    • Flow Methods
    • Immunoassay
    • Kinetic Methods
    • Microplate Assays
    • Other Seapration Methods
    • Radiochemical Methods
    • Surface Methods
    • Wet Chemical Methods

Currently, there is a first draft of the vocabulary available as an Excel file. Two guiding principles will be used in the vocabulary development. Firstly, this is for chemical analysis and thus does not extend to physical property testing. Second, it is not practical to try and capture each individual technqiue variant as there are an infinite number.  Instead we classify them in groups.

If you think there is a category or technique missing let This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. know.


This sample matrix vocabulary is under active development. Currently a first draft is available as an Excel file. Main categories are shown below.

  • Agricultural
  • Biologics
  • Chemicals (including metals, alloys, and materials)
  • Commercial Products
  • Environmental (including Geological)
  • Food/Beverage
  • Miscellaneous (needed?)
  • Petrochemicals
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Reference Materials
  • Wastes (including hazardous wastes)

The current draft has the agricultural classes of materials identified and linked to other database and domain terminologies and ontologies.  This will be done done for the other main groups as domain experts provided feedback about completeness.

If you have any suggestions about vocabulary terms or main categories please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


  • 10-03-2014: Initial list of main categories added.
  • 12-08-2014: List of categories revised.  First draft Excel file added.

In some sense the information in this category could be a repeat of metadata in the sampleprep category. I went back to the metadata originally in sampleprep and moved some of it here as it seemed to fit better.  I also changed the name of the category to sample metadata (from matrix metadata) because the sample matrix (while important) is only one piece of metadata that describes a sample and how it was sampled.  So, the metadata is broadly about the sample, how it was collected, and how it was stored.  Thoughts?  Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • identifier: the unique identifier of the sample (string) [10-02-14]
  • amount: the mass or volume of the sample received or collected (float/decimal) [10-02-14]
  • amount unit: the unit of the quantity of the sample amount (string/enum/vocab) [10-02-14]
  • aggregation: if the sample was obtained by collecting it at multiple locations and combining then it should be described here (string) [10-02-14]
  • matrix: description of the type of sample material (from a controlled vocabulary) (string) [10-02-14]
  • physical state: the phase of the sample (e.g. solid, liquid, gas, slurry, etc.) (enum) [10-02-14]
  • homogeneity: the homogeneity of the sample at collection (e.g. homogeneous, heterogeneous, emulsion) (enum) [10-02-14]
  • sampling event: was the sample collected as part of a specific trip/exploration/voyage? (string) [10-02-14]
  • sampling location: a description of or GPS coordinates for where the sample was obtained (string) [10-02-14]
  • sampling depth: the depth below sea level the sample was collected (string) [10-02-14]
  • sampling depth unit: the unit for the sampling depth (string/enum/vocab) [03-01-15]
  • sampling altitude: the altitude above sea level the sample was collected (string)  [10-02-14]
  • sampling altitude unit: the unit for the sampling altitude (string/enum/vocab) [03-01-15]
  • sampling conditions: what were the environmental conditions (weather) where the sample was collected (string) [10-02-14]
  • sampling protocol: how the sample was collected (string) [10-02-14]
  • sampling equipment: the apparatus used to collect the sample (string) [10-02-14]
  • field stabilization: a description of the any processes used to stabilize the sample in the field (string) [was 'field prep' 02-16-15]
  • field additives: list of substances  added to the sample to stabilize the concentration of the analyte(s) to be determined (string) [was 'field prep' 02-16-15]
  • storage container: container that the collected is stored/placed in for transport/storage (should include material type as well as container type) (string) [02-16-15] (replaced 'vessel' with 'container')
  • storage conditions: how/where the sample is stored after collection, prior to lab processing and/or analysis (string) [10-02-14]