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Subject: AIC certification plan

AIC certification plan

From: Alice Cannon <acannon<-a>
Date: Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I've just been reading the many interesting posts on the AIC
accreditation issue.

I'm not writing about accreditation (I'm not even an AIC member),
but one comment in Steven Prins's posting (Cons DistList Instance
22:36) did prompt me to write on a related issue or two...

Prins notes that the accreditation process has been driven by "a
handful of zealous members" for a number of years, which is probably
correct. However, if the majority of AIC members are indifferent
enough to accreditation that they did not reply to a survey
attempting to gauge support for this process, all one can really
assume is that they don't mind one way or the other whether it is
introduced or not--and are thus happy for a small group of zealous
people to make their decisions for them. The AIC (or whoever is
conducting the poll) can only be guided by the responses returned.
In effect, non-voters add their strength to the 'side' that garners
the most official votes. This is similar to the way US presidents
are elected (voting being non-compulsory) and we certainly take the
results of that poll seriously. It might not be a perfect system,
but in that case a small group of zealous people need to get
together and figure out a system that works better.

Regardless of your opinion on the topic in hand, it also strikes me
that if it weren't for such small handfuls of zealous people at
various times in history, nothing would ever happen--in any country,
at any time or in any discipline. In the conservation profession,
these handfuls organise and deliver conferences, workshops, outreach
programs, publications, keep volunteer-run organisations going and
achieve many other things that are of value to us all.

Not everyone feels as equally zealous about every issue, of course,
which is fine. This is presumably why most surveys have such low
response rates, and is no doubt why groups of zealous people are
usually small, rather than large. Most of us are pretty happy to
enjoy the benefits of their work, however.

While zealousness without a willingness to enter into debate can be
dangerous (not to mention annoying), I feel we should appreciate the
commitment and contributions of such people to our profession
(whether we agree with their opinions or not) and be nice to them.
This doesn't mean we can't argue with them, of course.

Alice Cannon
Conservator, Paper and Photographs
State Library of Victoria
328 Swanston Street
Melbourne, Victoria 3000
+61 3 8664 7331

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:37
                 Distributed: Friday, December 19, 2008
                       Message Id: cdl-22-37-008
Received on Tuesday, 16 December, 2008

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