Around forty participants debated how best to approach the problems of data management in the UK Oil Industry which would seem to be as intractable as ever, despite the best efforts of standards organisations, vendors and national data banks. As Jill Lewis from Troika put it, the multiple solutions current used for data basing need integrating, new larger datasets need new approaches to their management, and guidelines, or at least some strategies need developing within companies to decide when to jettison obsolete data. Citing the hypothetical case of a small company with 10,000 seismic lines to archive, Lewis pointed out that if about ˝ hour was allotted to deciding what to do with each item, the data manager was looking at a potential 10 ˝ years worth of work. Both Lewis and Mark Wilson the chairman of the PESGB Data Management Group appealed to the assembled audience for case histories of data management projects with nitty gritty details of the problems involved, and how they had been resolved.
The group was more circumspect with the suggestion that it should play some sort of a rôle in setting standards. As Wilson aptly put it, the idea of yet another standards organisation "makes you feel faint just thinking about it". Notwithstanding such understandable reticence, their was strong support for the group playing a rôle in what was euphemistically termed "conventions" i.e. in recommended practices for the naming of countries, companies and the like. All of which are problems which although eminently simple to resolve, as was suggested by using ISO standards and the like, still plague the daily life of the data manager trying to index an old dataset, or load a file from a trade associate. Future meetings are planned with an informal monthly meeting scheduled coupled with more formal quarterly presentations by invited speakers. Great thought was given to the venue, with protagonists of a pub slugging it out against the "serious" meeting room brigade. In an unusual spirit of inter-operative co-operation, for data managers that is, a compromise was quickly reached in that the chairman was mandated to seek out a pub with a meeting room. If all such decisions are reached so easily, this group will be a powerful force in data management indeed.
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