2.2 Raising Awareness and Persuading Management and Staff

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If your institution does not see the need for an IP policy, how can you persuade it otherwise? How do you convince overworked staff or an unconvinced administration that the effort is necessary and worthwhile? Persuasion is a critical first step: without administration and staff support or "buy-in" the process will be difficult to undertake and sustain, and may be doomed from the outset.

To enlist "buy-in", you first have to marshal evidence to support your case. There are a number of ways to collect this evidence within your institution. A review of local departmental IP procedures will often reveal discrepancies, or procedures that are at odds with one another. Informally polling department managers about their views on IP use and ownership is likely to reveal many different and conflicting perspectives that need to be reconciled. Querying staff about the daily IP issues they face can yield anecdotes that illustrate IP "run-ins" involving rightsholders and users. The differences, inconsistencies, and problems that surface from these initial investigations can help bolster the case for a unified institutional IP policy.

Additional evidence is available from the broader community of museum professionals. Colleagues outside your organization are good sources of "war stories" that offer object lessons you can bring to the attention of your institution. Professional resources, particularly listservs, offer a host of scenarios and advice about IP policy issues. Professional name-dropping also helps lend credence to your efforts. Citing organizations such as NINCH, CHIN, and others who have done significant work in the area of IP and museums, and who actively support policy development, demonstrates to your institution the importance of keeping pace with professional practices in the museum community.

Once you have collected and documented information from these sources, compile it into a clear, brief document (i.e., a list of "reasons why we need to do this") and distribute it along channels that make sense within your institution. Persuasion can be a long process (frequent handholding, personal networking, and incessant repetition of the message are often required), but a well-articulated argument that shows you have done your homework can go a long way towards raising awareness of the need for an IP policy for your institution.

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This resource was published by the Canadian Heritage Information Network (CHIN). For comments or questions regarding this content, please contact CHIN directly. To find other online resources for museum professionals, visit the CHIN homepage or the Museology and conservation topic page on Canada.ca.

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