Monthly Archives: March 2013

Ranganthan’s five laws

Ranganthan’s five laws of library science is so famous that there are many versions derived from it by different scholars. Just to name a few here:

–1. Documents are for use.  2. Every reader his document.  3. Every document its reader.  4. Save the time of the reader.  5. A library is a growing organism.

— 1. Books/Documents/Information/Knowledge are for use.  2. Every Reader his Book/Document/Information/Knowledge.  3. Every Book/Document/Information/Knowledge its reader/user.  4. Save the time of reader/user.  5. Library/Information/Knowledge centre is a growing organism.

— 1. Links are for use – the very essence of hypertext.  2. Every surfer his or her link – the rich diversity of links across topics and genes.  3. Every link its surfer.  4. Save the time of the surger – visualizing web clusters and small-world shortcuts.  5. The Web is a growing organism.

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Sir Anthony Panizzi

Before the time of Cutter and Ranganthan, in 1841 Antonio Panizzi (later Sir Anthony) of British Museum published the ground-breaking “Rules for the Compilation of the Catalogue”.    Denton (2007) described the situation of early stage of cataloguing [1]

“All catalogers ran into the same problems, and there were no agreed ways to solve them. How to handle variant spellings of names and titles? How to list anonymous or pseudonymous books? Books by many people? Several books bound together into one volume? Series? Each cataloger would decide individually what to do.”

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Outsourcing Library Functions

Today’s article is posted by Justin Tan, Librarian of NYP.

“The idea of outsourcing Library functions is not new to all of us. It is not uncommon with our overseas counterparts and lately these past years, this has been gaining pace as well in our local context. Increasingly, more of our local Libraries are outsourcing certain functions to Library vendors such as in the area of circulation and cataloguing. Especially for the latter, this is a concern to all of us professionally-trained cataloguers. Recently, I came across this article which I find quite interesting–The-Great-Librarian-Massacre-of-2012-a-cataloging-librarian-s-view (last accessed 18 Mar 2013). This outsourcing of cataloguing function can be a double-edged sword — Pros or cons, bane or boon, it would be interesting to hear our views on this.”

Charles Cutter

Charles Ammi Cutter (1837-1903) is a famous nineteenth-cnetury American librarian.  He is best known as the creator of Cutter numbers, which form unique call numbers assigned to books with same subject.   In 1876 he published the “Rules for a Dictionary Catalgoue”.  In it, Cutter outlined the objects and means of library cataloguing:


1. To enable a person to find a book of which either
A. the author
B. the title
C. the subject is known

2. To show what the library has
D. by a given author
E. on a given subject
F. in a given kind of literature

3. To assist in the choice of a book
G. as to its edition (bibliographically)
H. as to its character (literary or topical)

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S. R. Ranganathan

S.R. Ranganathan is considered the father of Library Science.  His Five Laws of Library Science (1931):

1. Books are for use.
2. Every book its reader
3. Every reader his book.
4. Save the time for the reader.
5. A library is a growing organism.
is the foundation philosophy of many libraries worldwide.

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First post

Read 5 minutes a day, 3 days a week, that makes a lot of differences.

Read more about cataloguing, knowledge organisation, resource discovery.