Is a European certificate useful
It is a significant form of recognition for information-documentation
professionals; it is a way of demonstrating professionalism to employers
and colleagues at the workplace; it inspires confidence; it is also
a way of taking stock of your competencies, especially if you do not
have a professional diploma or if you obtained your diploma many years
When will the first European
certificates be awarded?
The first European certificates should be awarded in January 2005;
applications can be filed during the last quarter of 2004.
What conditions should applicants
To be acceptable, an application must meet the following criteria:
- demonstrate that you have acquired the basics of information-documentation
- show you have been working in the field of information-documentation
for the past three years at least, two of which at the level being
applied for (five years for experts)
- demonstrate that you regularly update your knowledge and know-how
and that you follow the development of techniques and methods used
in the field of information-documentation;
- complete the self-evaluation on the basis of the Euro Guide and
give proof you master the know-how at the level applied for.
What is meant by "to have
acquired the basics"?
Whatever his or her work environment and speciality or profile, a
professional must know the terminology of the profession and be able
to put a name on a certain number of essential subject matters (e.g.
types of documents), of techniques (e.g. subject indexation) or tools
(e.g. classification scheme) and to provide the commonly accepted
definition of these elements. He/she must also be able to show awareness
of the main rules of the profession (specifically, standards). Generally,
all this is acquired through professional training, reading, attending
Do I have to be a graduate?
No, this will not be a requirement. European certification is not
a formal ratification of knowledge and know-how, it is recognition
of acquired experience, know-how and professionalism. You must be
able to show that knowledge acquired has actually been put to practical
use on the job or in a series of jobs. It is a scheme open to all
professionals (with the exception of beginners!).
What if I am looking for a job?
If you were working in the field of information-documentation less
than a year before filing your application, then the application can
still be accepted (conditional on the other criteria for acceptation
As part of a career change,
I have completed a certain number of training programmes: can I apply
for a certificate?
Not at present: training is an important "plus factor"
but you have to prove that knowledge acquired has been put to practical
use; you therefore have to wait three years before applying for certification.
How can I prove that I have achieved
the level being applied for?
You must first consult the Euro Guide. For each area of competency
you must indicate the level you consider you "master" in
line with the description of the knowledge and know-how specific to
each level. To "master" means to have real practical experience
that you can demonstrate or prove through verifiable results: an information
product, the daily provision of a service, the repeated implementation
of a method that can be described, etc. However, this "proof"
of know-how must be "related back" to the rules of the profession
and to identified needs. Evidence of such "proof" must be
attached to the application, along with comments for the jury. They
will be compared with the explanations given by the applicant during
the interview or via other forms of investigation.
Will there be a new version of
the Euro Guide?
European certification will be awarded on the basis of a revised
version of the Euro Guide. This revision is needed because the profession
has evolved over the last few years, new requirements have surfaced,
adjustments have become necessary to take account of the experience
of the various certifying organisation participating in the Certidoc
consortium. More specifically, the revised Euro Guide will take into
greater consideration the diversity of "trades" covered
by the information-documentation field. This Euro Guide, which should
be published mid-2004 will be the core of the evaluation process.
What should an application contain?
Will it be complicated to fill in?
A certification application comprises an administrative part (the
applicant's contact details, information on his/her professional situation
and on training undertaken, a commitment to respect the Bye-laws
a form outlining his/her career path, a self-evaluation form, references
and "proof" of know-how, examples of personal achievements.
It is not really complicated to fill in, but compiling an application
requires a modest time commitment to assemble and format all the elements
or "proof" substantiating the statements made on the self-evaluation
How will the evaluation be done?
It takes place in two phases. After administrative verification that
the application is complete, the jury first evaluates the contents
of the application, the consistency between the statements and the
supporting evidence attached, the quality of the proof provided. At
this stage, the jury can request additional information or proof.
An average mark is calculated on the basis of the marks given for
each area of competency. Then the applicant is called in for an interview
lasting approximately one hour. He/she must defend his/her application,
reply to requests for further information, demonstrate his/her professionalism.
The jury deliberates and forwards its opinion to the Certification
Committee which then decides to award the certificate or not as the
case may be.
To which body should I apply?
You should apply to any of the certifying bodies approved by the
consortium (currently three bodies are about to be approved: ADBS
in France, SEDIC in Spain and DGI in Germany). The choice will be
made according to the language you wish to use and the working language
of the certifying body. The European certificate awarded is the same
in all cases. However, applicants should be aware that not all bodies
award certificates for all levels of qualification.
Will the association-specific
certification continue to be awarded?
Not in principle. The founding European certification bodies will
only award European certificates.
How can I find out more about
the rules governing the European certification system?
The rules are set out in the Bye-Laws which have been made public
and have been disseminated by the approved certifying bodies and by
the associate members. It will be possible to download them from the
web on www.certidoc.net. For the sake of transparency, all the reference
documents will be published and accessible on line, at least in the
main European languages.
Will European certification
be valid for my entire professional life?
No, it will only be valid for five years, but it can be renewed by
submitting an updated application at each renewal date. The applicant
must provide proof that his/her knowledge is being updated and that
he/she is continuously progressing. Where applicable, the applicant
may apply for a higher level.
How can I be sure that evaluators
are competent and unbiased?
Evaluators are recruited from among seasoned professionals who are
well versed in the profession and are experienced in evaluating people.
Evaluators must be designated by the certifying body to take part
in a jury. Recruitment is undertaken according to rules laid down
at the European level by the Certidoc Consortium. Training is provided
to ensure a relative homogeneity between juries in the various countries
or over time. They are necessarily provided with an "evaluator's
guide". An evaluator may not take part in a jury if he/she has
a direct professional relationship with the applicant being evaluated.
A representative of the Certification Committee takes part in the
jury as an observer to detect any irregularities in the procedure.
An evaluator who is a member of a jury cannot take part in the Certification
What happens if my application
Depending on the jury's deliberations and arguments, the Certification
Committee may refuse to award a certificate at the level requested.
It can offer the applicant a certificate at a lower level or give
him/her a second chance by granting him/her a six month period in
which to demonstrate the acquisition of additional experience. Failing
this, the applicant must wait for another year before filing a new
application for certification. Obviously, if he/she is rejected by
one certifying body, he/she is not allowed to file an application
with another certifying body during this period.
What are the differences with
the certification currently awarded by ADBS?
The overall scheme remains more or less the same. The main difference
is the greater importance given to self-evaluation on the basis of
the Euro Guide and the marking system which has been completely revised.
There is also a change in the role played by the jury which is now
involved in studying all the elements of the candidate's application,
a task undertaken by a different team in the current system.
How much will it cost?
This point is still under study. It should not be very different
from current fee levels.
Is there a possibility of redress
in case of rejection?
As in the current system, decisions may be challenged if there is
an obvious procedural dysfunction.
Will there be sanctions in the
case of fraud?
As in the current system, the Bye-laws call for sanctions in the
case of dishonest statements or fraudulent use of certificates.
Will those currently certified
by ADBS, SEDIC or DGI have to submit a complete application and pass
all the tests in order to obtain the European certificate?
Transitional measures are under study. They will be communicated
to those who are already certified as well as to those filing an application
during the year 2004.