Ross Atkinson Dies

ross atkinson

News & Features

Library Leader Ross Atkinson Dies

Ross Atkinson, Associate University Librarian for Collections at Cornell University and an advocate for digital publishing, died on March 8, 2006 at the age of 60 of complications from leukemia. Atkinson joined the Cornell University Library in 1988 and was an advocate of open-access, online publication of scholarly and scientific work. Atkinson played a major role in establishing Cornell's D-Space online repository to facilitate access to the work of Cornell scholars. He held a B.A. in German from University of the Pacific, M. A. and PhD degrees in Germanic Languages and Literatures from Harvard University, and an M.S. in Library Science from Simmons College.

Mr. Atkinson's honors include:

  • Best of LRTS Award in 1993 for his article "The Acquisitions Librarian as Change Agent in the Transition of the Electronic Library" (vol. 36, no. 1, January 1992, pp. 7-22).
  • 1999 Blackwell's Scholarship Award recipient for his article "Managing Traditional Materials in an Online Environment: Some Definitions and Distinctions for a Future Collection Management." Library Resources & Technical Services (vol. 42, no. 1, January 1998, pp. 7-20).
  • In 2003, he was chosen as the Academic/Research Librarian of the Year by the Association for College and Research Libraries.
  • He also served a three-year term, from 1992-2002, as an ALCTS Councilor to ALA Council. In 2002, the ALCTS Board passed a resolution to thank Ross for his service in this role.

More recently, Atkinson gave a presentation titled "Six Key Challenges for the Future of Collection Development" at the 2005 Janus Conference on Research Library Collections, a meeting of higher education librarians, which took place at Cornell. His presentation addressed the evolving nature of collections and the concept of collection in the new digital environment.

ALCTS recently published Community, Collaboration and Collections: The Writings of Ross Atkinson edited by Robert Alan and Bonnie MacEwan. The editors, with the assistance of a group of colleagues, selected the articles that best represent Ross Atkinson's philosophy and the corpus of his work.