Content-Type: text/html I onsdags kom beskedet om att Ross Atkinson, en av vår
tids stora bibliotekarier efter en kort tids sjukdom gått bort.

Ross Atkinson var i många år förvärschef vid ett av världens
fråmsta bibliotek, Cornell University Libraries

Atkinson var en mycket vänlig, anspråkslös och prestigelös
person som skapade enastående samlingar vid Cornell.

Nästan självklart att han inte ville ha någon minnesstund,
han berättade på slutet att han skulle vilja vara på biblioteket
en dag och gå bort nästa.

Med anledning av att Cornell hörde till dom stora amerikanska
forskningsbibliotek som 2003 inte förlängde sina konsortieavtal
med tidskriftsförlaget Elsevier så kom jag att korrespondera med
honom. Ross visade ett stort intresse för fria elektroniska tidskrifter
som en väg ur den kris som dom stora forskningsbiblioteken över
hela världen hamnat i. Nu vet jag varför jag inte fick svar på mitt
senaste brev.

I Library journal föklarade han varför Cornell sagt upp sin Big
Deal med Elsevier:

"The point of the decision, Atkinson stressed, was flexibility for Cornell
librarians. Though each title is likely to cost more, without a major
multiyear bundled commitment to Elsevier, librarians will have more
control over collection decisions and will be able to respond to budget
circumstances and cut titles when necessary without penalty."
http://www.libraryjournal.com/article/CA339623

Den oro som man haft över att avbeställningarna skulle möta mycket
kritik visade sig obefogad, fakulteterna hade till och med undrat över
varför det dröjt så länge och man uppmuntrade biblioteket att göra
mer neddragningar bland onödiga Elseviertitlar.
http://www.library.cornell.edu/iris/ahl_news/spring04/ahspring04b.pdf

I oktober förra året var Atkinson djupt involverad i en konferens om
förvärvsfrågor "Janus Conference on Research Library Collections,
Cornell University, October 10 2005"
http://www.library.cornell.edu/janusconference/

Målet med konferensen var:

"The rationale and the intent of the Janus Conference are to establish
strategies for the discovery, organization and dissemination of scholarly
resources. We intend to identify the major obstacles that inhibit collection
development’s transformation and identify best practices currently in use
to bring the transformation about. Finally, we intend to establish a workable
plan that will enable continued access to scholarly information by all those
who need it.

En av talarna var den berömde företrädaren för fri publicering, Jean-Claude
Guédon.


Konferensen väckte stor uppmärksamhet och debatt. Atkinson
lade fram sex utmaningar för framtiden


1. action to digitize our retrospective collections

2.  to make a rapid transition to electronic information

3. to develop deeply coordinated and integrated collections

4 to negotiate collectively with publishers for the best and
most cost-effective access to electronic publications

5. to ensure the long-term archiving of digital materials

6. support alternative modes of scholarly communication

http://janusconference.library.cornell.edu/

Atkinsons historiska tal: "Six Key Challenges for the Future
of Collection Development" blev också hans testamente till
all världens forskningsbibliotek:

http://dspace.library.cornell.edu/bitstream/1813/2608/1/Atkinson_Talk.pdf

Jag skulle vilja citera dom sista styckena i hans tal som handlar om det absolut
viktigaste vi måste åstadkomma nämligen samarbete:

Why then, we might ask, has so much been written about cooperative collection development? Why is it so
often discussed, if we do not reward it? We must be honest. In the same way that a scholar, a scientist, can
publish a series of articles in high impact journals and receive tenure for those publications, even though no
one ever reads them—a librarian can write and speak about cooperation and receive all manner of credits
and rewards, even though no cooperation ever results. Why? Because writing and speaking about
cooperation are viewed as forms of leadership, while the act of cooperating is not. That is why there is so
much discussion of cooperation, and so little of it.
How then could such cooperation be brought about? I can say only how I know it will not happen. It will
not happen by someone standing up and presenting a lot of power points that contain graphs and charts and
dazzlingly innovative cooperative models. That would simply re-start the same futile process all over
again. No, such cooperation can only be accomplished by research library collection development
coalescing and operating as a group. And that will entail, to my mind, nothing less than a transvaluation or
revaluation of some (not all) values, such that it comes to be understood, accepted, acknowledged that,
under certain circumstances in collection development, the highest form of leadership or distinction is to
relinquish some leadership, to relinquish some distinctiveness. It will entail the creation of a culture in
collection development of collective leadership to displace in certain situations the individual or
institutional leadership that so characterizes research library culture at the present time.
As I said, however, this can only be achieved by the leadership of (at least initially) research library
collection development coming together to accomplish it—and the leadership of research library collection
development is, to a very great extent, in this room now. If we are going to do this, now is an
opportunity—this time, this place, these conditions. Time passes swiftly by, and we may well not have
such an opportunity again. If we cannot begin here and now, then perhaps we cannot begin at all.
And indeed perhaps we cannot. If that is the case, then we at least have made our best effort—and the rich
legacy of collection development, that Henk Edelman described in his very informative paper last night,
will likely not be passed on by us to our successors. Collection development will become less relevant in
research libraries, and the intermediate sort—so essential in an increasingly online environment—will
either not be built at all, or it will be built by some other agency or institution than the research library.
But if, on the other hand, we can do this—if we can take initial steps toward collective action in
confronting the key challenges facing collection development, then collection development will continue to
thrive and succeed in the new environment, and will ensure, for its part, that the research library will be
even more of a corner stone of scholarship and advanced learning in the new academy—even more—than
the traditional library was able to be in the old academy. We should aim, I think—we must aim—for
nothing less than that.

Det finns hoppfulla tecken att ett sådant samarbete håller på att skapas i Sverige. SUHB, Sveriges
universitets- och högskolebiblioteksförbund skulle kunna bli ett forum för framtidens bibliotek som vi
behöver skapa i nära samarbete med SULF.

Henrietta Zorn skriver i sin ledare om dessa samarbetsplaner och frågar sig om det handlar om en
missnöjesförklaring mot KB/BIBSAM och Svensk biblioteksförening.

Syftet är inte så torftigt utan ligger helt i linje med vad Ross Atkinson skriver om behovet av det
absolut nödvändiga behovet av samarbete för att skapa framtidens bibliotek i en radikalt ny digital
verklighet.

Det finns  många beundransvärda bibliotekskolleger. Ross Atkinson tillhörde dessa och
hans kloka röst kommer att höras länge och jag hoppas vi kan fortsätta vårt arbete i hans anda.

Jan









Jan Szczepanski
Förste bibliotekarie
Goteborgs universitetsbibliotek
Box 222
SE 405 30 Goteborg, SWEDEN
Tel: +46 31 773 1164 Fax: +46 31 163797
E-mail: [log in to unmask]