Management policy of the World Soil Reference Collections

The soil reference collection of ISRIC - World Soil Information is a unique resource with over 1100 soil monoliths from around 82 countries in the world which provides a reference for identification (classification), comparison, research and education. The collection is used for research and is also displayed in ISRIC’s World Soil Museum. The World Soil Museum uses the collection to increase knowledge and respect for the soils of the world. global soil collection. 

"Soil description and analyses in the field."
Soil description and analyses in the field.

The soil reference collection requires continued attention and quality investment. This means scrutinizing reference data, assessment and documentation of the collection and acquisition and disposal of collection objects. The curation and use of the soil reference collection of ISRIC, in relation to the functions of the World Soil Museum and ISRIC - World Soil Information, are discussed in the report shared below containing the collection management policy. This report describes the current collection management policy and practice and compares it with the Spectrum international standard for collection management. To ensure the quality of the collection and provide accountability, ISRIC has been working towards compliance with Spectrum procedures of museum collection management. 

"Soil description and analyses in the field."
Detail of a thin section of soil from the reference collection for study under an electronic microscope.

There are 21 procedures in Spectrum. These are discussed in relation to the management of the ISRIC soil reference collections, which is specific due to the unique nature and scientific aspect of the purpose of the collections. Not all Spectrum procedures and protocols are therefore relevant for the management of the ISRIC physical collections. Yet, many aspects of the philosophy and protocols of the Spectrum standards are relevant. Spectrum procedures will, among others: 1) help to better formulate the strategy of the collections; 2) provide a framework to enhance the quality of the collections; 3) enhance accountability for collection management; and 4) result in documentation of all parts of the collection management. 


Samples storage of the soil reference collection.

Implementation of Spectrum procedures for the curation of the soil reference collection will be planned over the coming years in prioritized phases. 

Contact: