Thursday, February 1, 2007

Ranganathan's Five Pieces of Really Good Advice

Michael Stephens Tame the Web has a post on Would you rewrite Ranganathan's Five Laws for the 21st Century? One of the responses Michael quotes is:

1. Collections are for use.
2. Every collection its user.
3. Every user his collection.
4. Save time & energy of user.
5. The library is a growing organism.
Of course, this is a question that has been tackled numerous times. Some of my other favorites:
1. Information is for use.
2. Every bit of information, its user.
3. Every user, his/her bit of information.
4. Save the time of the user.
5. A network is a growing organism.
- Jean Armour Polly

1. Libraries serve humanity.
2. Respect all forms by which knowledge is communicated.
3. Use technology intelligently to enhance service.
4. Protect free access to knowledge.
5. Honor the past and create the future.
- Walt Crawford & Michael Gorman

0. Nothing comes before something.
1. Information wants to be free, but TANSTAAFL!
2. Share knowledge, seek wisdom
3. Build connections, grow community.
- me
This last was pronounced by our friend Karen Schneider as most appropriate for public libraries. I can see what she means -- I guess I've been out of academic libraries too long. :)

And another study suggests keeping Ranganathan's five just as they are, but adding two supplementary laws: ‘Every reader his library’; and ‘Every writer his contribution to the library.’ Although the article was written in 1999, it seems to predict many of the impacts of Web 2.0 and Library 2.0.

But another question is: why are these "laws"? I know a little bit about scientific law, and these seems more like... principles. There's debate and various schools of thought about scientific laws in the social sciences. More on that in a future post.


Gillian said...

Found this thanks to one of my mailing lists. It seemed to fit.

I really should print out and hang-up one set of the five rules.