The interactive hub of the information world


What's in a Name?

Thursday, 28 February 2013

IM or MI

This post was prompted when someone asked me what the difference was between IM and MI; i’ve had a great many conversations with people from various backgrounds and with various professional disciplines who hold a view on the (seemingly) endless terminology that is used to describe the various concepts for the management of information. 

It got me to thinking about the usefulness of some clarity on the basic fundamental definitions of these management concepts and I thought that a blog article was just the thing for a basic exploration of these concepts and (hopefully) getting some discussion around the topic (because I am sure there are some conflicting opinions even amongst my most learned of friends).. 

So, to get started, I did what most folk would do and headed off to wikipedia that provided me with the following definitions; 

Records management (RM) is the practice of maintaining the records of an organisation from the time they are created up to their eventual disposal. This may include classifying, storing, securing, and destruction (or in some cases, archival preservation) of record.

Information management (IM) is the collection and management of information from one or more sources and the distribution of that information to one or more audiences.

Data management (DM) is the development, execution and supervision of plans, policies, programs and practices that control, protect, deliver and enhance the value of data and information assets.

Management Information (MI) is the information that organisations need to manage themselves efficiently and effectively.

Business Intelligence (BI) is a set of theories, methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies that transform raw data into meaningful and useful information. BI can handle large amounts of information to help identify and develop new opportunities. Making use of new opportunities and implementing an effective strategy can provide a competitive market advantage and long-term stability

Information Governance (IG) is an emerging term used to encompass the set of multi-disciplinary structures, policies, procedures, processes and controls implemented to manage information at an enterprise level, supporting an organization's immediate and future regulatory, legal, risk, environmental and operational requirements.

Information Assurance (IA) is the practice of assuring information and managing risks related to the use, processing, storage, and transmission of information or data and the systems and processes used for those purposes. Information assurance includes protection of the integrity, availability, authenticity, non-repudiation and confidentiality of user data. It uses physical, technical and administrative controls to accomplish these tasks

Information Security (sometimes shortened to InfoSec) is the practice of defending information from unauthorised access, use, disclosure, disruption, modification, perusal, inspection, recording or destruction. 

I recognise that there are more granular aspects that I could include in this list but I felt that these are the most recognisable terms that describe the management of information in the average organisational context or business environment. 

What I find interesting is that each of these is talking about the management or use of information, in summary; 

plans or programs that seek to develop policies, procedures and processes to ensure a consistent approach to the classification / architecture, control, storage, security / protection, [managed] destruction, preservation and maintenance of information to enables its access and use”

Obviously, Business Intelligence and Management Information are slightly different in that they are the business outputs of the management process, the benefits realised through the hard work required to implement consistent policies and standards for the information that is so essential to our contemporary business environment.  

The one thing that struck me though is that regardless of whether talk is of data, information, records or archives, the core fundamentals of Records Management are universally relevant. 

It seems to me that the essential criteria that all of these management disciplines seek to achieve are the assurance of 

  • authenticity, 
  • reliability, 
  • integrity,and 
  • availability/usability of information.

I think that the challenge for anyone working in the information space is to maintain focus on that overarching objective to gain assurance and have confidence in the information that we rely on in every aspect of our working life. 


Nominations for Exec Roles

Wednesday, 20 February 2013


Exec Meeting

Members of the Exec met in Manchester on 12 February 2013, this was one of the regular quarterly meetings that we hold in order to manage the business of managing the Society and also progress our objectives and goals to further develop the services offered to members, develop the Society and support the development of the Information and Records Management professional sector. 

The meeting was action-packed as always and we had a great deal to discuss, some highlights included; 

Conference 2013; which is shaping up to be a really great event with some fantastic speakers. The Conference will launch its own Blog in the next couple of months whereby you can get a flavour of the Keynote sessions, speakers, workshop leads and exhibitors.. I am confident that if you're wrestling with the management of data as part of your corporate IRM agenda - the conference will have something for you. 

Accreditation; its been great to receive more applications for the Accreditation scheme. We're going to be moving the Accreditation information to the Training and Development pages of the website so that non-members can learn more about the scheme and see the benefit of both joining the IRMS and seeking Accreditation. We're also going to be developing some additional support material for those not yet experienced enough to attain accreditation in order to support the continuing professional development of our members. 

Membership Questionnaire; we're going to be seeking your views on the future of the IRMS and a questionnaire will be issued ahead of Conference to inform our strategy planning for the term of the incoming Chair. 

Wiki; we also discussed the plans currently being progressed to launch a Wiki that will bring together all of our Retention guidelines and enable a greater degree of collaboration and develop amongst our community.  This is a really exciting development for us and will provide a fantastic membership service when it is launched.. 

Each of these themes will be the subject of a dedicated blogpost in the coming months so that you can be as informed and up to date as possible - i shall even be sharing my own Accreditation journey with you via the blog and I would be interested to hear from anyone who has already been through the process to add an additional dimension to the article.   

Nominations for Exec positions

If you are a member of the IRMS you will have received an email advising you that the Nominations are now open for roles on the Executive Committee; I would heartily encourage anyone with an interest in the future of our Profession to get involved in the Executive Committee either through Nomination to one of the Director posts or as an Officer to support the Executive roles or specific projects. 

For an idea of the current Exec, their duties and responsibilities take a look at the Exec Committee and Officers pages, membership of the Exec is hugely rewarding and a great opportunity to work closely with likeminded members of the profession who are committed to the ongoing development of our professional sector. If you are a member and haven't received an email, please get in touch with us and we will send you details. 

All applicants, proposers and seconders must be Members of the Society.

And Finally....

You can now renew your membership via Worldpay through the IRMS website. This is a great step forward for us and a welcome alternative method of payment. If you've not already renewed your membership, it's as easy as any other online payment...


It's an action packed news week!

Thursday, 07 February 2013

So, it's week 2 of the all new IRMS Blog

In addition to the Blog, you may also have heard about some of the changes and new services that we’ve been introducing; 

This is quite literally the best job search for Information and Records Management Professionals that I have used. 

I recently changed job and, in my job search I registered with various recruitment websites and the results I received varied wildly! Not only was it a hassle having to join numerous sites, I had to set up the wide variety of searches (because our profession uses a huge variety of terminology to reference IRM roles) and then I had to filter the endless (often irrelevant) returns! 

The joy of the IRMS Jobs page is that we’ve done most of that work for you by filtering all of the jobs on the web using specific IRM terminology so that you don’t have to! We are also able to better position our job adverts and target these at subscribed jobseekers as well as all other users of the IRMS Jobs page.  

You can submit your CV that will enable recruiters to consider you when they are looking to fill their next IRM vacancy. 

We’d considered boosting the careers support on our website and I am keen to hear feedback from members? Is there an appetite amongst our community to have career development material and also support materials for those seeking a new challenge? Add comments or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your thoughts... 

If you’re an IRMS Member, you will have heard from us regarding the new ‘Your Rewards’ scheme.

This scheme is free to members and is designed to save you money on a huge variety of treats, experiences and day to day shopping expenses. Some of the big names includes; 

Hotels, holiday lets and campsites, beauty treatments, eyecare, various highstreet restaurant chains, masses of days out and activities and endless highstreet shops! 

The list just goes on, and on and on! So, if you want to save on your everyday essentials or on those little extras you can ado so by signing up in the member area. 

There is a new information guide available that provides valuable information regarding the importance of information and records management in times of economic uncertainly and is focussed on achieving cost and efficieny savings, making the best use of your existing assets and understanding opportunities from new technology. 

It’s certainly worth a look and is recommended. 

Facet Publishing are offering 20% discount to all IRMS members; to access the voucher code you will need to log in to the member area and visit the member news pages. 

The blog won’t always be a weekly round up of things that have been added to the IRMS Website, in fact it is intended that the blog will carry a weekly article about a topic relevant to our community. As I mentioned in the previous post, the plan is to pull together some themes that will enable us to serve as many of our community as possible. Again, I would ask for any suggestions that you might have to be either added as comments below or emailed to me This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We will launch the themes at the end of February and launch our first articles in March.

Next week I will post an update on the Meeting of the Executive that is to be held in Manchester on Tuesday 12 February 2013. The agenda is action-packed as we consolidate the year to date, continue our preparations for conference and finalise our strategy. 


We're Live!

Thursday, 31 January 2013

So, it's here at last! After a lot of planning, a lot of technical support and a few tears (mainly mine) the IRMS Blog is live and ready for your comments, your interaction and your interest. 

If you're new to blogs, it's worth checking out some of the 'how to's' that are online that will enable you to get the most from the experience but, my recommendation would be to subscribe to this Blog which means that you'll receive a notification that a new blog post has been added to the site.

The plan is that the blog will provide a space for the IRMS to communicate with its membership and wider IRMS community on a wide variety of Information and Records Management related material; it's going to be as informal as blogs usually are (or should be) and cover everything from physical records preservation through to big data and the governance challenges presented by enterprise information concepts.

It's intended that we'll keep things varied by having a schedule of planned posts and, if you fancy getting published, we're on the lookout for some guest bloggers who will be able to share the wealth of their knowledge and experience or just their thoughts and views on issues in our professional domain. 

If you're interested in taking a guest spot on the blog, drop a note to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with an idea of what you'd like to say and when you might be able to contribute. 

You'll also be pleased to know that we're also going to be introducing Group Blogs for your Regional and Special Interest Groups. These will come on stream over the next few months as the Regional and Group Chairs ready themselves for the world of blogging, some of our Chairs are brand new to blogging whilst others are experienced social media veterans but all will need a little training in how to use the tool. We'll let you know as and when each of the Groups launches their Blogs with an appropriate degree of fanfare. 

I had considered leaving it at that, using my first ever IRMS Blog Post to say hello and invite you to stick around but I also thought I should give you a taste of whats to come and how better than to consider a timely topic on the recordworthiness of blogs.

I though that the Blog as Record was worth a ponder on today of all days and how better than to think about blogs (and associated comments) as records. I am sure that there are a great many amongst us wrestling with the challenges of the 'blog as record' conundrum that many of us will now face. I know of several organisations that still regard all 'non-sponsored' content as ephemera and therefore don't recognise any of it within their records management approach (I am also aware of others who take everything that has ever been written down (including digitally) as a potential threat and therefore keep everything!

Organisations may either take the approach that all blog posts are subject to Records Management Policy, will disregard the whole lot as ephemera or will opt to make it a judgement for the Records Manager or Archivist as to whether blog content is worthy of retention and preservation.

I don't think that there is one 'best way' and it would be wrong to suggest that there is, but this dilemma does always make me think of the historical case studies where scraps of paper, dismissed by conventional records management policies, have proven to be the most significant or relevant record pertaining to a significant event. I think that this translates well to blogs (and the use of any Web 2.0 technology) as so much of it is seen as ephemera..

I've long been a keen follower of the TNA Information Management Blog (which I highly recommend as useful reading) and in particular a blog post entitled Dastardly Digital Dilemmas whilst the focus of the article is how much is lost due to the inability to 'scrawl' on a digital document it's relevant to this article because it touches on the importance of context and how, through selection, (albeit very considered selection) you can be in danger of losing some (perhaps even all) relevance of the message. 

There is of course the counter-argument, that to capture everything all of the time is impossible, hideously expensive or likely to mean that any items of significance are lost in the mass of retained content....

It's certainly a dilemma the IRMS Exec are going to have to ponder in terms of applying a retention schedule to my ramblings but I am hoping for now it's sparked your interest sufficiently to generate a response; 

You can leave comments on any IRMS Blog posts and we will moderate any that are rude of offensive  and reply to any that are relevant and interesting. Feel free to have your say and join the discussion. 

I had thought about having a little natter about Twitter as well but instead suggest you go and take a look at the excellent article by Katharine Stevenson in Bulletin 167 regarding her experiences trying to capture the Twitterverse. If you did fancy tweeting us you can @IRMSociety .




Blog Categories

IRMS Blog (29)


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..