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Ross Atkinson, 1945-2006

Dear Friends,

It is my sad duty to let you know that Ross Atkinson passed away 
this morning.  His wife Carole and son Andy were at his side. 
At Ross's request, there will be no memorial service.  He told me 
several weeks ago that he wanted to be here one day and gone the 
next.  Ross is an unforgettable individual, however, and we mourn 
his loss deeply. Our collections will forever bear his mark, and 
our scholars and students will be served for generations to come 
as a result of his direction.  Our hearts go out to Carole and 
Andy in this dark hour.

Ross has been a major contributor to our profession.  Most 
recently the Cornell University Library organized the Janus 
Conference, a look backward and forward at collection 
development. http://www.library.cornell.edu/janusconference/ 
There is a streaming video of Ross's presentation at 
This conference was heavily influenced by Ross and the six 
challenges he developed with his colleagues here have generated 
much discussion.  It was Ross's goal that they would also result 
in significant action: action to digitize our retrospective 
collections, to make a rapid transition to electronic 
information, to develop deeply coordinated and integrated 
collections, to negotiate collectively with publishers for the 
best and most cost-effective access to electronic publications, 
to ensure the long-term archiving of digital materials, and to 
support alternative modes of scholarly communication.  The Chief 
Collection Development Officers of Large Research Libraries 
Discussion Group (ALA) has been moving these issues forward, and 
the Council on Library and Information Resources has also 
proposed to contribute to their advancement.  Ross was insistent 
to me that it was important to move from local solutions to 
collective action.  We plan to continue in that spirit.

The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services of 
the American Library Association published, in late 2005, through 
the impetus of Pamela Bluh and Peggy Johnson, Community, 
Collaboration, and Collections: the Writings of Ross Atkinson. 
Robert Alan and Bonnie MacEwan edited the collection of Ross's 
classic work.

If you wish to contact Carole Atkinson, her address is 3 Library 
Street, Dryden, New York 13053.

In a note to me in January, thanking me for writing the 
introduction to his collected works, Ross says that the "whole 
ground for our perceptions of information services has been 
shifting," and that he is glad that others felt he had made a 
contribution at such a critical time.  He concludes:  "What fun 
it has been!"

It's a privilege to have known someone who has made such a 
difference in our profession.


Sarah E. Thomas, Ph.D.
Carl A. Kroch University Librarian
201 Olin Library
Cornell University
phone:  607/255-3689
fax:  607/255-6788