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Robin Hutchinson

Robin Hutchinson

In his book Luster Don Bogen has a poem titled “Card Catalog,” a poem that is largely a narrative about interacting with this “gargantuan simplicity”:

Still, I make the most of the journey
the numbers and letters like roadsigns decorating the corners,
the special directions in red—See also, See under—that can lead you
almost anywhere,
mysterious bibliographic abbreviations, hand-printed lists of years on a
periodical card
fading back from felt-tip to ballpoint to fountain pen.[1]

One can certainly imagine that a great deal of the work librarians need to do is done within an aura of “mysterious bibliographic abbreviations;” if there is someone who has dwelt and prospered in the necessary bibliographic mystery of a library, it’s Robin Hutchinson who is retiring after 18 years of service in ODY.  While all of us who have had a chance to work with him would immediately praise his demeanor and professionalism, it’s important to pause and consider the work he has done, work in the complicated and thoroughly circuitous bibliographic mysteries of journals and databases.  Robin has been absolutely central to our journey from a print-based journal collection to the digital scholarship that now makes up the bulk of the research we do.  Further, the tools of this research share none of the “gargantuan simplicity” of a card catalog—databases are complicated entities and with unfailing good humor Robin has striven to make them work to best advantage for the students, faculty, and staff of St. Lawrence University.  Robin’s work has been checking and rechecking, planning and thinking about the best use of resources, and in all of these capacities he has served the community well. His ability to do this work with such high standards and good cheer will be missed by those of us “carrying on” from his example.


[1] Bogen, Don. “Card Catalog.” Luster. Middletown CT: Wesleyan UP, 2003. 15-16. Print

~ by pdoty on March 21, 2013.

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