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.


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 work on development research and educational and consultancy services has focused on offering practical solutions to records issues in relation to international good practice 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 and to the significance of digital records management for the right to information and open data. 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. The fragile nature of digital records and data means that they will not survive unless they are managed. They are vulnerable to risks including media deterioration, software changes and hardware obsolescence. They can be altered, deleted, fragmented, corrupted or lost completely, making them difficult to access, share and manage after a few years or even after a few months. They may be stored on personal drives, un-networked computers or unmanaged network drives, and different versions 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 and data when technology changes.

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

UNESCO Digital Preservation Initiatives Modules

The International Council on Archives has published two new training modules on digital preservation. Commissioned by UNESCO and developed in collaboration with the Trust, the modules have been designed to support records professionals in lower resource countries in identifying solutions to challenges they face in managing digital records. The project team has structured the material to take account of the realities of lower resource environments and relate it to existing international good practices; to offer practical examples that users can adapt to their own realities; to provide a practical pathway toward implementation; and to use accessible language.

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

Edited by James Lowry and Justus Wamukoya as a celebration of Anne Thurston’s pioneering work, this book discusses key issues around records as evidence for accountability, transparency and the protection of citizens’ rights.  Please click here for a site where you can purchase this book. As Maria Guercio, Sapienza University of Rome, has written: ‘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.’