Wednesday, 18 November 2009

For the sake of the kids....

The next sessions here at CISG09 were on Information Management, and Data Quality. Not necessarily riveting you might think, but Alison Allden (Chief Executive of HESA) used a storytelling approach to set the scene on Information Management. We were treated to stories of the Holy Grail, we came up against the Forces of Evil and met Heros and the Heroic.

I'm sure we all had a lot of sympathy with her examples of the Holy Grails of Information Management and the Forces of Evil (some of which are different sides of the same coin). So - the things we've been striving for (and have just about got there in some cases) - single sign on; interoperability; a single point of data storage (the one true database..); data quality; and standards. Those nasty forces of evil included bad data; multiple systems and consequent reconciliation; standards (the overhead of having them); variation - the diversity of not only institutions but the way thing are done in different parts of the same institution); the exceptions - those little things we don't do because they're in that last little bit of the system that we didn't quite get right.

Very interesting talk raising a number of issues which we'll all have to address, and a worrying conclusion that when things are too expensive or difficult we talk about them a lot rather than doing anything about them. That could happen over the next few years to issues which we really should be addressing including data preservation and curation, documentation and electronic records management.

The next session on Data Quality was also good, and included this rather amusing illustration of the importance of data quality:

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