No Tyne like the present

The Millennium Bridge across the Tyne on the pound coin

The Millennium Bridge across the Tyne on the pound coin

I made my first trip to the legendary city of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne (or to give it its preferred modern moniker Newcastle-Gateshead, reflecting both the north and south bank of the river)  last week for a conference on records management – and didn’t regret it.  My limited knowledge of the north-east of England had been drawn largely from the popular stereotypes as depicted in Viz comic, The Likely Lads and Auf Wiedershen Pet.  Much of this depicts a rather grim, violent place, but I discovered a thriving modern city proud of its industrial past, steeped in history and looking forward to the future.  The city’s renaissance of the last few years is reflected by the recent developments on the south bank of the Tyne (ie the part known as Gateshead) such as the Sage theatre (which as one conference speaker pointed out resembles a giant silver slug), the former Baltic Flour Mill, now an art gallery and the luxury riverside flats which have sprung up.



And there’ also of course the marvel of post-modern engineering design, the Millennium Bridge, a curved bridge which lights up at night, regularly changing colour.  It was only on receiving change at a corner shop which yielded a pound coin, on the reverse side of which was the bridge itself that I finally realised that this image had been in and out of my pocket for all these years.

And one popular stereotype is in fact true – they do go out in t-shirts in freezing cold, wet weather.


  1. What part of records management are you involved in? I work a lot in this area so it’s funny to see it pop up on your blog.

  2. I manage the internal records for a regional park authority in the London/Herts/Essex area. At the moment we’re in the process of purchasing an electronic doc & records system to provide a central repository for all documents created within the organisation – with the aim of migrating the existing docs from folders on the hard drive to the proposed new web-based system. We have a well-known open source system in mind – but would be grateful for any tips or recommendations you can provide!

  3. Well, as you probably know most government agencies in the UK use TRIM Context, that’s the what we use in my company too. Since you are talking about electronic records a lot of companies and agencies use a Sharepoint based front end with something like TRIM, Documentum or Livelink in the back end. Open source systems might be a cheap up front but commercial companies often prefer the security of a vendor who can give you the support you need. In terms of support I have had great experience with Documentum, their user forum is so large most questions are answered within minutes and you nearly always get the answer you need. The right system of course depends on your requirements (legal retention requirements make things more complex of course), if they are straightforward then maybe a cheaper solution will be all you need.

  4. I did approach TRIM, but their quote was outside of our price range. We’re a relatively small organisation of 200 employees, not a big local authority of 20,000 staff. Open source solutions seem to be taking off and could well, along with Web 2.0 technology be the future of records management.

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