To get started with IsoBank, click on "Login" in the header and create an account. You must be signed in to deposit data, save searches, and take advantage of other IsoBank features.

IsoBank uses a system of standardized templates in a comma-separated-value (.csv) format to structure data for ingest and bulk retrieval. Since there are many fields available and not all fields will be applicable to all measurements, we have created a tool to build your own template - select "Upload Templates" from the header to begin this process. This will create a .csv file which you can import into any common spreadsheet application and populate with your stable isotope measurements. You can find more information about each file through the template generation tool itself, but we also strongly encourage you to download and refer to the metadata guide linked below to understand the meaning and intent of each field.

Once you have a file populated with your measurement data, go to "My Data" to upload the measurements into the system - each file you upload will be treated as a "Dataset" by IsoBank and can be updated or removed, as a whole. In future we will also allow you to limit access to these datasets to selected researchers, but for the time being all data uploaded to IsoBank is open to all.

Note that once you have generated a template, you can re-use it, and even share it with others, as many times as you want - the templates simply reflect the standardized fields we support in IsoBank, and the template generator helps track the dependencies between those fields, but once the template is built it can be used by anyone to upload data directly into IsoBank.

To learn more about how to use IsoBank, including how to understand and utilize the rich metadata capabilities of the system, follow the links below:

Metadata Fields Documentation



Tips and Frequently Asked Questions on Data Ingest

This section offers some helpful hints on commonly asked questions and issues with the data ingest process.


  • Errors referring to "Non-unicode data detected." These errors usually result from non-printable or other "special" characters embedded within your CSV file. This can result from copy-and-paste from various sources, including web pages or word processing documents. These almost always appear in text and controlled vocabulary fields such as the "material type". You can usually resolve these by copy-and-pasting the text into a true text editor, or a Unix command-line, and back, or in many cases there are special utilities available to strip non-printable characters from your spreadsheet.

  • Need to input multiple instances of a metadata element. The template generator will only ever provide one instance of any given metadata field, but many of these elements support multiple instances - this is common with the reference material fields in the QA/QC metadata. Please consult the Metadata Fields Documentation linked above, or the field guide descriptions linked from the template generator page, for details on whether a given field supports 1 or more than 1 instances. If the metadata schema supports multiple entries, simply duplicate the entry as many times as necessary within your data spreadsheet.




Sample Templates

The following files can be used as base templates for use with similar datasets, without generating your own templates through the template generator tool, or simply as examples to help you understand how to populate your spreadsheets. Please feel free to submit your own templates to us, if you feel you have created one that may be useful for others in your field. You may e-mail example templates to


Small Mammals, Submitted by Oliver Shipley, University of New Mexico

Sandtiger Shark (Blood Plasma), Submitted by Oliver Shipley, University of New Mexico

Intratooth Enamel Samples (submitted by Gabriel Bowen, University of Utah)