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Subject: Accreditation


From: Jack C. Thompson <tcl>
Date: Wednesday, April 21, 1999
I have examined the document Adrian Tribe cited
<URL:> and have commented therein.

In essence, the document describes a guild, with the pluses and
minuses of that form of governance.

Although the document asserts that any path may lead to
accreditation, it is in fact weighted toward graduates of a
post-graduate program.

The language of the document in para. 4, p. 3 ("Background")
explicitly recognizes a distinction between 'professionalism' and

In this regard, they are in tune with AIC over a dozen years ago,
and last year, when AIC went for professionalism at the expense of
the profession, as regards certification.

The document does recognize (p. 3, para. 5) that conservation is not
a 'recognized profession.'

On p. 4, para. 1: "Once the term has become established it will be
an offence under the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 for an
non-accredited person to pass themselves off as an 'accredited

As H.L. Mencken once said (you've read it before, right here...)
"When they say it's not the money, it's the money."

The United States regulates these things through the Federal Trade
Commission, and I would encourage interested people to examine the
Advisory Opinion of the Federal Trade Commission to the American
National Standards Institute, Inc., at: CCH Trade Regulation Rep.

AIC chose to ignore this (to the best of my knowledge), but I told
them about that years ago.

This is a new day.  North Americans are part of a global economy. If
the UK can make this certification programme stand in the EU,
Canadians and US conservators may be prevented from applying for
positions in Europe.  It will be the law.  Or, a law.  Supervised by
some intelligent person. Probably.

On p. 8, para. 1, it is asserted that: "The standards received wide
endorsement when they were put out to consultation during January
1999." But we are not told which professional bodies, nor which
people endorsed the standards.

Also on p. 8, were are informed (para 3): "Generally, the standards
should be applied in a way which reflects the conservator's current
job and where necessary draws on his or her previous experience.
However, lack of experience in an area covered by the standards
cannot be compensated for...."

But it gets better.  On p. 10, we are confronted by the thought

That fact is cloaked under the term: "Ongoing requirements."

Para. 2:  "The accreditation framework requires that accredited
conservators maintain a year-by-year account of ongoing development,
which will be called in for examination on a random basis."

I have only hit the high points.  I encourage any north American
conservator who has thought about applying for a conservation
position in Europe to read it through and comment.  Loudly.  Profane
is ok.  Unions enable; guilds disable.

Just a thought.

Jack C. Thompson
Thompson Conservation Laboratory
7549 N. Fenwick
Portland, OR  97217
503-735-3942  (voice/fax)

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:82
                 Distributed: Thursday, April 22, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-82-007
Received on Wednesday, 21 April, 1999

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