Ross Atkinson, 1945-2006

WESS Chair, 1984-1985

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At the beginning of March, members of WESS were saddened to hear about the death of Ross Atkinson, associate university librarian for collections at Cornell University.

The importance of Ross Atkinson within the library community was described succinctly in an article in C&RL News (April 2003, vol. 64, no. 4) announcing that he had received the ACRL Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award:

Atkinson's record of scholarly writings and publications is largely unmatched in significance. His body of scholarly and theoretical writing on collection management and scholarly communication is among the most influential and thought-provoking appearing in this field. 

In nominating Atkinson, his peers wrote, "His record of authoring over 30 distinguished publications alone would qualify him for the Academic/Research Librarian of the Year Award, but his service to the profession extends far beyond this."

Atkinson continued to be involved in issues related to collection management in recent years.  In 2005, he played a key role in the Janus Conference, as was noted in a widely-distributed letter that Sarah E. Thomas, the university librarian at Cornell, sent out after his death.

In the 1980s, Ross Atkinson was very active in WESS, beginning as a member of the Conference Planning Committee in 1981 and ending in 1986-1987 as the first chair of the then Martinus Nijhoff International West European Specialists Study Grant Committee.

In between, he served as WESS chair, and of course in the other positions associated with this office: vice-chair, past chair, and Executive Committee member. Among his other WESS activities, Atkinson was twice a member of the Nominating Committee, in 1982-3 and again in 1986-7.

A short obituary was published in the Ithaca Journal1.

1To access this obituary, it is necessary to do a web search on the newspaper title and Ross Atkinson's name. No direct link was possible.

Editor: Paul Vermouth

Association of College & Research Libraries
©American Library Association

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