MinIdent – A Mineral Data Base for Earth Scientists

Smith, D. G. W., & Leibovitz, D. P. (1986) MinIdent – A Mineral Data Base for Earth Scientists. U of A Computing Services Bulletin. 20(5): 11. [doi10.13140/RG.2.1.2404.7848] (pdf)

Smith & Leibovitz (1986) MinIdent - A Mineral Data Base for Earth ScientistsAbstract: MinIdent is a program written in FORTRAN 77 which enables an interactive mineral identification search. Data have been stored for about 4000 recognized mineral groups, species, and varieties. These data include composition, optical properties in transmitted and reflected light, symmetry, unit cell dimensions, densities, Vickers and Mohs hardness, d·values and relative intensities of the live strongest x-ray powder-diffraction lines, JCPDS numbers, polymorphs, if any, synonyms, if any, occurrences, localities, year first described, and the sources of the data. At present, some mineral records lack data in some fields; additions continue.


University of Alberta

The University of Alberta is a public research university located in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. It was attended by David between 1981 and 1985.







  • Ran mathematics lab seminar (1985)


External Links

A computer-based system for identification of minerals on the basis of composition and other properties

Smith, D. G. W., & Leibovitz, D. P. (1984) A computer-based system for identification of minerals on the basis of composition and other properties. 27th International Geological Congress. Extended Abstract, 5:169. [doi: 10.13140/RG.2.1.2471.3442]

MinIdent-PCAbstract: Developments in the techniques, theory and practice of microbeam analysis over the last quarter century have resulted in a situation in which reliable compositional data can now be obtained extremely rapidly and conveniently. However, the interpretation of these data is not always so straightforward or rapid, particularly when the microanalyst is not a fully trained mineralogist or when data are obtained from one of the less common minerals or from one of a group of compositionally similar minerals. Furthermore, certain modern procedures for the automated modal analysis of rocks and other mineral aggregates require that a very large number of identifications be performed – preferably without human intervention. The system described in this paper has been developed in response to such situations.

The system uses a purpose-developed FORTRAN IV computer program “MINIDENT” different parts of which permit the creation of analytical data files, the processing of these files to produce an “index”, and the searching of the index to find the best matches with an unknown. Although the system is b~8Bed primarily on compositional data, several other properties, such 8S reflectance, refractive indices, VHN, density, etc., have been included and can be used with (or without) compositional data to seek a match with an unknown. Each mineral entry is cross referenced to the appropriate JCPDS file number. MINIDENT produces a list of the most likely matches and prints these together with an estimated ‘reliability factor’ for each match. The program can also be used to produce an alphabetical list of all minerals with certain properties – e.g., those. containing a particular element or element combination, those which have refractive indices within a certain range, etc. It can also be used to print a summary of the information included in the data-base for a given mineral. New data can be added by means of MINIDENT and is instantly included in the data base for use in subsequent searches. Considerable emphasis has been placed on making the interactive computer software easily used and understood.

Although MINIDENT is capable of providing an identification and/or list of the most likely possibilities very rapidly and on the basis of minimal input information, it is not intended that it should supercede the JCPDS powder diffraction index. That index will normally provide the more definitive answer, although the time and effort expended in making the identification will usually be much greater. A combination of the two systems also seems possible. The normal input of d-spacings and intensities to a program searching the JCPDS files could be augmented by the output from MINIDENT, thereby greatly reducing the search time involved.

At the time of preparation of this abstract, (September 1983) the basic data for more than 2000 minerals, minerals groups or mineral series are on file and these are being added to as time and funds permit. In future, it may prove possible to add other fields to this data base – not only with 8 view to making more positive identifications but also to allowing the retrieval of a more complete summary of available information on the mineral once an identification has been made.


Dorian G. W. Smith

Dr. Dorian G. W. Smith passed away in 2013. His areas of expertise were mineralogy, meteoritics and microanalysis. He developed sophisticated, multi-media mineral databases and software for mineral identification.


Joint Publications:

More information:

MinIdent – The Mineral Identification Domain Expert

MinIdent is a mineral identification software and data base used in mineralogy. The original Command-line interface (CLI) program was written in FORTRAN and ran on a mainframe computer. It was later ported to a PC. The current version of the MinIdent-Win software has a graphical user interface (GUI) and is available at

MinIdent represents information about minerals in a statistical manner and identifies unknown minerals with a fuzzy-like matching system. Even without a set of mineral samples, MinIdent can construct statistics based on understanding the chemical formula of a mineral.

GemIdent is a derivative of MinIdent.

People: MinIdent was initially developed between 1981 and 1987 by David Pierre Leibovitz and Dorian G. W. Smith.

Related Publications:

Smith, D. G. W. (2003). Member in the News: Dorian Smith and MinIdent. Newsletter of the Mineralogical Association of Canada, 69(April), 19–20.

Smith, D. G. W., Omoumi, H., & Leibovitz, D. P. (1989) The MinIdent database: some recent development. 28th International Geological Congress. Abstracts 3: 138-139

Smith, D. G. W., & Leibovitz, D .P. (1986) MinIdent User’s Manual. A FORTRAN 77 program for mineral identification. Computing Services, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Smith, D. G. W., & Leibovitz, D. P. (1986) MinIdent: A data base for minerals and a computer program for their identification. Canadian Mineralogist. 24(4): 695-708.

Smith, D. G. W., & Leibovitz, D. P. (1984) A computer-based system for identification of minerals on the basis of composition and other properties. 27th International Geological Congress. Extended Abstract, 5: 169.

External Links: