Development and management of data and information systems and services
We have extensive skills and experience in data and information management. This runs from the collection, processing, storage, analysis, and modelling of data, through programming and applications development, to the security, governance and compliance needed for our information and knowledge-based systems with large and complex datasets.
Our team has led and participated in numerous IT systems developments and research projects, with many years experience in this field. Ensuring good practice in informatics and information security, our highly experienced team develops and manages databases, desktop, web-based, and mobile applications, along with the provision of Library and Information Services to internal and external users.
Uniquely our scientific backgrounds and specialist knowledge, gained from working on varied research and development projects, provide the mix of skills and experience to manage data and application developments in all areas of IOM's work, enabling us to develop efficiently the most appropriate systems to meet the needs of projects and clients. In addition, this also maintains compliance with IOM’s registration for the 2018 Data Protection Act, GDPR, and the NHS’ Information Governance Toolkit, for example, in accordance with our overall Information Governance Strategy.
Application software skills and environment:
Database design and implementation skills are based on over thirty years of combined experience of ICT development in business and the research community. Our main applications and databases are built using a variety of software and tools appropriate to project requirements, These include: Microsoft Office integration and automation, Visual Studio, SQL Server, MySQL, MS Access, ASP.NET and PHP; AlphaAnywhere for mobile App Developments, combined with generic website HTML/CSS, CMS and graphics skills. Programming and analysis are carried out in a variety of packages and languages including .NET technologies, Java, and other tools for data manipulation and analysis including SPSS, SIR, R, Python, and Stata.
Examples of development areas include the design and implementation of systems and applications for:
- Numerous research studies requiring the design and implementation of data curation systems to collect, collate, transform, and analyse datasets from paper, ‘phone and web-based questionnaire surveys; more recent developments have seen enhancement to improve collection via smart phones, tablet-based applications, and environmental sensor.
- Database applications large and small for the collection, management and analysis of occupational exposure information for hazard management and the risk assessment of chemicals, metals, pesticides, and other hazardous substances.
- Collaborative research in exposure data management and modelling for REACH purposes through the development and implementation of the Advanced Reach Tool (ART) and its underlying database.
- The development of a unified coding scheme, user guidance, and IT tools (website and Access desktop application), for the systematic recording of sickness absence data in SMEs via the SART database developed for the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) and adapted and updated in other attendance management software for the Scottish Centre for Healthy Working Lives (SCHWL).
- The design and management of databases linking population and workplace data for epidemiological studies and effects on human health, e.g. a pesticides study for DEFRA to link and analyse large diverse datasets of agricultural records, national food consumption data and food residue.
- Data management partners in a series large multi-national EU FP7 (previously, ENPRA, MARINA, SUN and NANOSOLUTIONS), and HORIZON 2020 (currently, NanoReg-II, GRACIOUS, PATROLS, and BIORIMA) projects with complex data management and NanoInformatics requirements, to support investigations into the health risks and toxicology of engineered nanomaterials (ENM).
- Development of a mobile application to enable change in outdoor construction workers behaviour in relation to UV light exposure, Vitamin D intake, and raising awareness of skin cancer. (http://mob.sunsafe.construction)
- Design and development of the Stress E-Guide for the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (EU-OSHA), as part of their campaign on managing stress and psycho-social risks in SMEs (http://eguides.osha.europa.eu/stress/GB-EN/).
- Development of advanced asbestos survey, register management and reporting systems; and associated systems for the assurance of asbestos counting and measurement schemes such as AFRICA.
- The development of TEMPEST, the Task Exposure Matrix for PESTicides, was done as part of a joint project by the Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine (DEOM) at the University of Aberdeen and the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh. The project was funded by the UK Department of Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
- We have also developed many one-off database solutions for specific clients and industries (e.g, a variety of different chemical and metal trade associations) – from simple data collection forms and reports, through to complex, interlinked monitoring
Management and provision of bibliographical information and library services
Our Scientific Information Service provides bibliographical information and library services to both our own research and consulting work, and as a service to a variety of industrial and service-sector clients e.g. Industrial and Occupational Hygienists, Solicitors and Expert Witnesses. In liaison with clients, we advise on best bibliographical databases to use, devise appropriate search terms, and search peer-reviewed and grey literature for wide-ranging health and environmental topics, with the service and its outputs customised to particular client needs.
We manage the IOM library with its comprehensive collection of books and journals; these resources support the research and consultancy work of the organisation, and other library service-users. Our Scientific Information Service also regularly arranges seminars to present and discuss our scientific work and findings.
For more information about our Information Sciences and data management work, please contact Head of Section Peter Ritchie, or Senior Analyst Shahzad Rashid. To access or discuss any requirements for our Scientific Information Service, for bibliographic resources and searches, literature reviews, and accessing the IOM library, please contact our Information Scientist, Ken Dixon.