ranganathan and digital libraries

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