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.

It is noticed the 5 Laws are not discipline-specific and one can easily formulate another version in a different context.  The 5 Laws can be generalised as

i) the 1st law focus on the usable item,

ii) the 2nd and 3 laws focus on the user and the usable item,

iii) the 4 laws focus is a general appeal,

iv) the 5th law focus on the organisation, and

v) the object appearing in the 1st law is a component of the organisation figuring in the 5th law.

(Source: “Ranganathan’s five laws” by B.K. Sen.  In “Annals of Library and Information Studies” Vol. 55, June 2008, pp. 87-90.  http://goo.gl/WlEma)

Using these 5 laws to apply to the current environment, we have to:

1. Define our customers. Who are they? What are their information needs?

2. Find out which areas we can offer to assist, and

3. Offer the best source of information to fulfil their needs, and

4. in the ways that they cannot get it better from elsewhere.

5. Keep your finger on the pulse and stay relevant.