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Welcome to the International Records Management Trust

The International Records Management Trust is in its 25th year of supporting access to information for citizens and strengthening accountability by helping governments manage public sector records.

The IRMT

A UK registered charity governed by a board of trustees, the IRMT was created in 1989 and has worked with dozens of governments over the years to help strengthen records systems. Its ongoing programmes of development research and educational and consultancy services offer new solutions to records issues, particularly as governments make the transition to working in the digital environment. Over the years, the IRMT has given particular attention to human resource, financial and court records. Please feel free to use any of our products without charge or let us know if we can help.

Risks for Records in the Digital Environment

Professionally managed records provide the clearest, most durable evidence of any government’s policies, operations, decisions and activities; they are essential to protecting people’s rights and interests and holding officials accountable for their actions. As countries across the world make a transition from paper-based to digital information systems, either by introducing new digital technologies or through digitisation, protecting the global evidence base (the memory of the world) is increasingly important and increasingly difficult to achieve. The fragile nature of digital records means that they will not survive unless they are managed. They are vulnerable to new risks including media deterioration, software changes and hardware obsolescence. They can be altered, deleted, fragmented, corrupted or lost completely. They can be difficult to retrieve after a few years or even after a few months. Moreover, they may be stored on personal drives, un-networked computers or unmanaged network drives, and different versions of digital records may be kept without adequate identification. Their meaning is lost when metadata (the data describing their context, content, structure and management) is not captured, is imprecise, or is separated from the records when technology changes.

The reality is that in large areas of the world, the enhanced structures, controls and skills needed to manage digital information have not kept place with the pace of technological development. The IRMT is committed to addressing this issue.

The IRMT are proud to announce the publication of:

‘Integrity in Government through Records Management: Essays in Honour of Anne Thurston’

Edited by James Lowry, Deputy Director, International Records Management Trust, UK and IRMT’s valued associate Justus Wamukoya, Dean, School of Information Sciences Moi University, Kenya as a celebration of Anne Thurston’s pioneering work, this excellent volume brings together scholars and practicing archivists to discuss key issues around records as evidence for accountability, transparency and the protection of citizens’ rights. Never before have authors from the developing and developed worlds come together to explore the intersection of records management, public administration and international development. Case studies from across Africa enhance the theoretical and practical perspectives taken by the authors. This book will be essential reading for scholars and students interested in records management and good governance around the world. Please click here to visit a site where you can purchase this book. ‘Anyone interested in the strategic function of records management for democracy, transparency and open government in a changing world and the last 25 years’ history of recordkeeping as well as the proactive role played by Anne Thurston, not just in the developing countries, should read this book. The contributions are from the best scholars and professionals in the field.’ Maria Guercio, Sapienza University of Rome, Italy