The interactive hub of the information world

IRMS Conference 2017

Conference Blog

Keynote 1 - Data from out of space

Friday, 17 May 2013


Keynote 1

Data from out of space


Steve Brignell from Scisys has shown us how massive the data is that  comes from space, it's huge and every one of us relies on it for everything;

  • Satnav
  • Weather
  • Google maps
  • Finding your phone, etc...
Its also the only way that aid agencies can navigate after a tsunami to find survivors and provide them with support. 
The satellites that feed these things are vital for our modern life, they aggregate literally masses of data, ensuring the data flows and ensuring that we are able to make sense of it all  is a big job. 
Before you get to the collection of the data; the  design, the process and all of the policies and controls necessary to master this volume of information relies upon all aspects of records and information management practice; 
Records Management and Document Control is essential when managing the design documentation and all of the associated processes necessary to ensure a complete and reliable memory of how we got to the point where we can access data fed from a project such as Voyager.
Voyager was launched in 1977 (before we even had proper wordprocessers) and is now 18.5 billion kilometres away, the data takes 65 hours to reach us on earth and the longest distance file transfer renders earth a single blue pixel. 
Once in space, all kinds of software and systems are used to capture and manage the records created by a space probe yet the constraints in space are much larger than in any of our organisations;
  • It takes years for a spacecraft to land
  • There are no Internet protocols
  • Data storage and bandwidth are at a premium
  • The probe usually has a short life (Huygens lasted 3 hours)
  • Missions last longer than the staff
  • The software can't be changed after launch
  • Commands cannot be revoked
  • Errors cannot be fixed
Despite this the data is still required and must be usable (and the security constraints are beyond anything you can imagine)!
Sound familiar? 
We all work within various constraints in our organisations, we all face barriers and issues when trying to ensure that information is available, reliable and usable. 
5.5b euros is the price of Galileo, Europe agreed that all of these constraints were worth that level of investment. 
As Information and Records Management Professionals there is a huge amount we can learn from the work of organisations like SCISYS, they manage literally masses of data over long periods of time,  from all over the world which it shares with partners all over the world. It is transferred using analogue as well as digital processes, it has to be retained forever and it's capture devises are space probes. 
Steves' slides will be available via the conference pages for our delegates after conference and shared via the bulletin and IRMS blogs throughout the year. 


Opening Statement from the IRMS Chair

Friday, 17 May 2013


Opening Statement from the IRMS Chair

On behalf of the Information and Records Management Society I’d like to welcome you to the IRMS Conference 2013.  Our theme this year is Big Data Open Data. 

According to IBM, big data is all about the four Vs: Volume, 90% of the worlds data is less than tow years old: Velocity: traders make buy and sell in millionths of a second: Variety be it text, sensor data, audio, video, click streams, log files etc and Veracity: you need to trust the information you use and establishing trust awash this great ocean of data is a challenge. And onto open data.  With Freedom of Information, EIR, Data Protection, the movement of Open Access and the ever increasing Government demands for open data, the requirements for dealing with all this stuff is almost impossible.  How do we square the circle and make sensible this morass of data?

We have some great speakers this year.  We have four excellent keynote speakers, from the profession and beyond who will provide us with thought provoking sessions.  These are complemented by a range of breakout sessions on a multitude of subjects ranging across all aspects of Information and Records Management.

Tonight is our Gala Dinner when we will be celebrating the Society’s 30th anniversary.  As well as a drinks reception and fine meal, we have our annual awards ceremony, the announcement of the society’s first Fellows and a keynote after dinner speech from former Lord Chancellor and Home Secretary, Rt Hon Jack Straw MP.

We are grateful to our sponsors especially Iron Mountain, who return as our Gold Sponsor and BoxIt who are again our Silver Sponsors without their support, the support of our other Sponsors and Exhibitors.  Without them, Conference wouldn’t happen so I would like to encourage you all to make the most of the exhibition area and our exhibitors: they don’t bite and are looking forward to having a chat with you.

Our Conference is renowned as a friendly and social gathering, where debate and knowledge sharing ranges freely in thought-provoking conference sessions, in breaks, the innovative exhibition and the social events. Make the most of it and have an enjoyable and instructive time!

Matthew Stephenson 

"Isn't it amazing how fast the time goes....? - Rob Hutton, Conference Director

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

It only seems like yesterday we were preparing for the 2012 Conference. This year is a special year for the Society as it is our 30th Anniversary. Therefore, we have been looking at how we can add a little extra sparkle. The programme this year I believe is one of the most interesting we have ever assembled, as always we have scoured the globe to bring you the speakers from a diverse range of industries, all with a connection to the profession and all at the top of their game, so there should be something for everyone. 

One thing I find about going to Conference is that you can take two approaches. You can focus on those areas which you think are directly reverent to your work, and many people do this because it justifies their organisation stumping up the funds to pay for the event. However, alternatively, you can try and get into an off the wall session that has absolutely nothing to do with your day job. I find this helps give you different perspective the profession, and it may even give you an idea or two to take back to the office.

This year will be my 8th IRMS Conference and I have to say that the thing that keeps me coming back again and again is the people that you meet in the profession. One of the key aims of the IRMS is to be inclusive and the Conference is absolutely no different. Unlike some conferences where unless you know someone you can become a bit cast adrift, we try to design the IRMS conference to ensure that nobody is alienated or feels alone and can make new contacts and friends.


So if you have not yet booked to attend this year, why not..? It's a no brainer, where else will you get a event of this calibre for such a reasonable price. Remember it is Europe's (if not the world's) premier event for information and records management professionals.


IRMS Conference, a magnificent fusion - Matthew Stephenson

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

The IRMS Conference is a wonderful mix of formal learning and informal networking and I think it is this combination that makes it such a successful event.  

The skeleton of the conference is, of course, as you’d expect the sessions.  The IRMS Conference has a small number of keynotes.  There’s a reason they’re called that and that’s because they are key to the whole conference.  If you only attend four sessions all conference, they are the ones to attend.  This year will be no different with four very different but excellent speakers covering a range of topics which will be of interest to all delegates.  Supporting those keynotes are the breakout sessions.  With a large number on at the same time, the only problem is choosing which one to attend!!  These include sessions provided by practitioners, consultants, suppliers to the profession … the list is almost endless – whatever it is that you hope to get out of conference, there is a session for you.  These are supported this year by a very interesting panel session and the new addition for 2013, the info café:  for an hour you can choose who you speak to about what.  A range of experts will be available for you to pose any question or raise any topic.  What you get from the info café is down to you! 

The other aspect of the conference is just as important: catching up with friends, sharing experience, exchanging expertise and of course having a laugh!  The Sunday evening is an opportunity to ease you into the conference gently.  An introduction for those who’ve never attended before, a  few games to get yourself into the swing of things and then a delicious curry and quiz topped off, for those who wish to take part – or watch those do – karaoke, IRMS style!  Monday is a slightly more organised affair with a drinks reception, gala dinner and then after dinner entertainment with the announcement of the IRMS award winners, the Rt. Hon Jack Straw MP, our after dinner speaker and then a band taking us late into the night. 

Whatever you want to get out of the IRMS Conference, there’s something for everybody and I look forward to seeing you there!!

Big Data, Small Definition - James Beale

Friday, 12 April 2013

The goalposts have all moved (again). The need to be agile and embrace SOA via Web x.0 has all been internalised, and any boxes that remain have been thought so far outside of that last year it was all about looking up to the sky (but not the ‘blue-sky’); “the cloud”, a new term coined to describe the established concept of computing resources that are delivered as a service over a network to an end client.

If you are finding yourself being swamped by ever-increasing amounts of buzzwords, you are not alone. The problem with such buzzwords is that there are often so many interpretations and definitions associated with them that their literal meaning continuously morphs, leading to degeneration and the term becoming imprecise and loosely defined.

Now that everyone has become bored of talking about the cloud, “Big Data” has arisen to become the big buzzword for 2013 (although it has actually been quietly hovering on the horizon for a number of years). The problem with “Big Data” lies in the word ‘big’; when people think of big, they think of size, scale and quantity. This is only one aspect of the concept attempting to be described by this term. Big data is a term used to encompass the multitudes of values and volumes of the many different varieties of data being processed at differing velocities, known as the 4 V’s. Collections of data sets so complex that their sheer size is only one element of many that must be taken into consideration. Collections of data that have evolved so much, not only in size but also in their sources, types and rates, that they are now “Open”.

Find out how “Big Data” is changing the way that information and records are managed and its implications on your roles and responsibilities, both today and in the future.

Anyone for a Yottabyte?


If you have any comments about the site, please contact the eOfficer via the contact form or by email; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..