National Geological and Geophysical Data Preservation Program

Geologic Collections Management System

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is widely recognized in the earth science community as possessing extensive collections of earth materials collected by research personnel over the course of its history. In 2008, a working group convened to examine ways in which these collections could be coordinated, cataloged, and made available to researchers both inside and outside the USGS. The result of this collaborative effort was the development and publication of the USGS Geologic Collections Management System (GCMS). The GCMS provides a unified collections management strategy, with proposed guidelines, procedures, and resources to preserve the scientific legacy of the USGS through its sample collections, as well as making these sample collections available for further study and use.

The GCMS is available to download from the USGS Publications Warehouse at Printed copies are also available for distribution. Please contact the NGGDPP at to request a free copy.

Who is the GCMS for?

The GCMS was originally conceived as a system to manage the USGS's geologic collections and specimens.  However, as the working group progressed, it became apparent that these geologic collections only represent a fraction of the scientific samples collected and maintained by the USGS. The methods and principles proposed in the GCMS are written with the varying nature and scope of USGS collections in mind and are designed to be modified to fit the needs of all USGS sample repositories.