I know, I know, I’m like a Ranganathan fangirl. “The library is a growing organism! blah blah blah” But this is Ranganathan news that is current! And cool! The Digital Library of Information Science & Technology Classics Project has gotten permission from the Sarada Ranganathan Endowment for Library Science to provide open access to many of Ranganathan’s works. There is some preliminary material scanned from the Five Laws of Library Science available already.
How I wish there was a Creative Commons license on this book cover image of The Five Laws of Library Science posted to Flickr by the Tutt Library.
when Dewey came to the Columbia University, he was insisting that he should have lady assistants. But the Columbia university in those days did not allow ladies into the university building. So the authorities would not allow it. But he would not have any other assistants. Then they found a compromise. The lady said that they agreed that the lady assistants of Melvil Dewey would be allowed to come into the building not through the main door but by the spiral service staircase in the back of the building. Well, that compromise was accepted. After some time, Melvil Dewey reported to the authorities that that spiral staircase was missing and that his students were unable to come into the building. Then they were in a great fix. Are they to put up another spiral and wait for a week or ten days without work in the library or what were they to do? Melvil Dewey I suppose did not even smile on that occasion for he was very very serious looking, and they said “Alright, I shall allow your lady assistants to come through the main door.” That’s a very remarkable experience I heard from that old student of Melvil Dewey.
I count audio books on my reading list, same as all other books, as long as they’re unabridged. Two links about audiobooks, the New York Times writes in defense of audiobooks in Loud, Proud, Unabridged: It Is Too Reading! while audible.com has been strutting around with this “edgy” ad campaign at dontread.org, while I applaud their chutzpah (and their printable DON’T READ posters) I’m always a little squicked out when a for-profit entity sells me stuff through a .org domain.
Speaking of audiocontent, take a listen to this recording of Ranganathan talking about Dewey from a 1964 recording (it’s noisy at the beginning, stick with it)
You know how much I love Ranganathan. Please read the article in Library Journal by Michelle Cloonan and John Dove “Do digital libraries violate the Third Law?” and in-depth and thorough look at twhether moving our collections in to the digital realm is subtly or not so subtly reinventing the close-stack system of bygone days. At the same time, the article gives sensible suggestions for how to increase access to information in general by using technology sensibly. Of note: don’t assume “your entire patron base has access to your electronic resources because you have purchased and installed them.”
The third law is violated when valuable resources that would truly delight the reader are effectively hidden away or crowded out by the noise and onslaught of irrelevant data. With increasing access to more resources and more ways to search for them, every book or information source can make its way to its appropriate user.
As Ranganathan asserted, “It should be the business of…the librarian…to adopt all the recognized methods of attracting the public to the library, so that every potential reader may be converted into an actual one, thereby increasing the chances for the fulfillment of the Third Law.”
Ranganathan’s Third Law, inherently the most elusive of the five, is the most forceful. Getting authoritative information sources to potential users is the raison d’être of librarians and libraries