Rob Collison—scholar, distinguished librarian and indexer, writer, educator, bibliographer—died on 10 April 1989. He was a founder member, stalwart supporter and former President of the Society of Indexers.
Among his contributions to the literature of librarianship and bibliography were Library assistance to readers, Dictionary of dictionaries of English and foreign languages, An encyclopaedia of encyclopaedias, Abstracts and abstracting services and Bibliographies: subject and national. He contributed the article on encyclopaedias to Encyclopaedia Britannica. All indexers must be familiar with his two major books on indexing, Indexes and indexing and Indexing books: a manual of basic principles.
Before becoming Librarian of the BBC Reference Library, Rob had been Research Librarian at the United States Information Service and, from 1948 to 1958, Reference Librarian at Westminster Public Libraries. In 1968 he left the BBC to become a professor at the Graduate School of Library Service at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Collison retained his activity in library education on
his return to England in 1973, first as a member of the
staff of the School of Librarianship at Loughborough
Technical College and later as the Head of the School of
Librarianship at Ealing College of Higher Education. He
also became editor-in-chief of the Clio Press series of
bibliographies of individual countries, contributing
several volumes on East Africa himself.
There could be no other choice but Rob Collison to follow Norman Knight as President of the Society of Indexers and he held the office with distinction for seven years (1980-1987).