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From: Karen Rhodes <>
Subject: Re: [TGF] To codify or not to codify
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 2010 22:15:09 -0500
References: <mailman.9536.1263937209.14599.transitional-genealogists-forum@rootsweb.co m><a06240805c77be21d1ffa@[192.168.1.2]>
In-Reply-To: <a06240805c77be21d1ffa@[192.168.1.2]>


Jillaine Smith wrote:
> I also think it's completely acceptable for a professional body to
> have a set of standards by which they measure people who want to be
> certified through that body. If you don't want certification, then by
> all means, don't pursue it.
>
>


Not only is it "acceptable for a professional body to have a set of
standards . . ." I think it is absolutely necessary. Standards are
guidelines, yes, I'll agree with that, in a way. But I think SOME sort
of guidelines are necessary to have everyone pretty much on the same
page as to what regards acceptable practice in any profession. They are
to guide the professional in knowing what professional practice consists
in! Good heavens, I certainly would not want the doctor who is
operating on me or attempting to treat a stroke or whatever to believe
that he doesn't need any standards by which he may guide his performance
or by which he may be judged by his peers!

As well, the public has a right to expect that any professional group
will have standards by which the performance of anyone who carries a
particular certification may be judged.

As Jillaine said, if one does not want to abide by such standards, one
does not have to seek certification.

Is the GPS perfect? No, nor is it likely to be, if you want to be
philosophical about it, because nothing instituted by human ingenuity is
perfect. All such standards are the result of a process of debate and
compromise (such a dirty word these days, but that's how things get
done). And as a process, it is an ONGOING process. Changes have been
made in it in the past, and will in the future, as the profession
develops. But to say that the GPS is not usable because it is flawed is
to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Which is also not to say that it shouldn't be debated. Certainly if we
can come up with a better system, let's do so! As indicated above, the
GPS is not a static entity; it is possible that it will change and
develop over time, and it will do so because those in the profession see
a need for it to change, and debate the question and come up with
something better, the Good Lord willing!

As to the point of "reasonable exhaustive search," yeah, that's vague.
It's as vague as "fair use" in copyright law is! But I think one can
get a sense of when he or she has "reasonably exhausted" the sources
available to deal with a particular question. And that's part of the
analysis -- to look at the question and begin to think of the kinds of
sources which will be likely to help in answering the question.
Besides which, let's face it, when we get done with a particular bit of
research, we most likely have not found every source that may be out
there which may touch on the problem. We may not be able to get to it
because of restrictions on availability because of condition or private
ownership, or because of financial considerations (just can't jet over
to England to try to sniff out that one little tidbit that isn't online
or isn't in the British National Archive catalogue, don't ya know) . . .

We do the best we can, and always strive to do better. But we also need
some sort of guideline to let us know when we ARE doing the best we can,
and HOW we may do better.

Karen Rhodes
Middleburg, Clay County, Florida


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