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Subject: Accreditation


From: Ylva Playerdahnsjo <y.m.t.playerdahnsjo>
Date: Friday, May 7, 1999
In response to the messages from Jack C Thompson and Bryan Owen, I
should like to make the quiet observation that if we are to get
excited about semantics and dictionary definitions, then it is a
good idea to use a dictionary in the same language as the text under
scrutiny. Words and terms which we think we know, often have radical
or subtle differences in different countries. For example, Bryan
Owen's dictionary definition of "accreditation" is what would be
termed "validation" in the UK.

The accreditation document acknowledges this potential for
confusion, and has therefore included a glossary with definitions of
how key words are to be interpreted in the present context. The
document also explains the assessment procedures, standards and
administration which Bryan Owen queries. It is a draft document, and
there is still the opportunity to comment directly to the
consultant, Stan Lester.

Jack Thompson singles out two passages as being particularly worthy
of suspicion:


   "adhering to and upholding professional guidelines and ethics in
    your work, including legal requirements and any applicable
    national and international conventions and codes of practice."

I cannot see anything strange about conservators wishing to
subscribe to a high standard of work, or wanting to provide a
guarantee that they practice within the law. What is he accusing JAG
of lying about? Maybe he confuses the reference to "legal
requirements" with the debate about whether the profession should
strive for legal recognition in Europe. That is another issue


   "An accredited conservator is expected to be able to act
    competently across all the functions, although it is accepted
    that he or she may not have a high level of practical
    proficiency in every area"

   " Accredited conservator status cannot be conferred for
    competence across only a limited range of functions"

Surely this just means that an accredited conservator needs to have
all the necessary training, understanding, experience and ability in
conservation to be able to practice in a full professional capacity,
( making independent decisions about treatment etc etc ) as opposed
to a person who has been shown how to carry out a very narrow range
of treatments, and works under supervision. You  certainly need to
be generally competent before you specialise, as I am sure the
specialist friends that Jack Thompson refers to all are.

As I see it, the accreditation document and system are an attempt to
specifically address the UK situation, at least in the first
instance. If, in time, it proves useful outside UK boundaries, then
so much the better. Conservation is not a "white collar profession",
but has evolved out of a mosaic of different backgrounds, which is
of course why it is so difficult identify what it actually is. But
we all share the same, basic enthusiasm and commitment to our chosen
profession ( I use the term in a general sense here ) and I guess we
would all wish to see standards ( again, the general meaning )
upheld and improved.

Ylva Player-Dahnsjo
Chief Conservator
Library Conservation Unit
University of Dundee
Scotland, UK

                  Conservation DistList Instance 12:86
                   Distributed: Monday, May 10, 1999
                       Message Id: cdl-12-86-014
Received on Friday, 7 May, 1999

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