Thursday, July 06, 2006

Visualizing the Emerging Nexus: Five Laws of Ranganathan and the WWW Era

Given below are three recent attempts (with a focus of first on the Web, Second on hyperlinks, and third on search engines) to reflect samples of the emerging nexus between WWW era and Five Laws. The purpose, here, is to showcase areas where these Laws facilitate a friendly atmosphere in the WWW era.

The most recent attempt to rephrase* the Five Laws comes from Me's blog, and it is called, Ranganathan's Web, posted on June 21, 2006.

ME has very rightly incorporated the WWW era:

Web resources are for use.
Every user his or her web resource.
Every web resource its user.
Save the time of the user.
The Web is a growing organism.

Who can say that creative visualization has reached an end? Information visualization has a new guru, and that is Lennart Björneborn. In his doctoral research entitled, Small-World Link Structures across an Academic Web Space - a Library and Information Science Approach, Lennart goes an extra mile in rephrasing the Five Laws. This is shown below. Apart from this text-based sketch, a full graphic visualization of this in true colors is at his Web site. And, his thesis can also be downloaded from the same site:
Links are for use – the very essence of hypertext;
Every surfer his or her link – the rich diversity of links across topics and genres;
Every link its surfer – ditto;
Save the time of the surfer – visualizing web clusters and small-world shortcuts;
The Web is a growing organism

I did my own attempt to present a mindmap in relation to search engines, as follows:
Search Engines are for Use,
Every Searcher His / Her Search Engine,
Every Search Engine its Searcher,
Save the Time of the Searcher, and
Search Engine is a growing organism.

"The concept of facets was first introduced by Ranganathan in library science to provide – guess what – more flexible navigation of library catalogs. ... Today in Next Generation Search Systems seminar series we had Marti Hearst of UC Berkely. She talked about faceted metadata for navigation." Thus spake Prof. Ramesh Jain, Convergence in Search and databases May 15th, 2006.

Other innovative expressions also show the nexus:
  • OA to Ranganathan, by Adri Edwards-Johnson, July 11, 2006
    [Thanks to Dr.Sukdev Singh, for this information, at his blog]
    I'm glad to see I'm not the only Ranganathan "fangirl". :-)
    Continue reading the actual story behind these citations: Jessamyn over at reports on this story: Open Access to Ranganathan.
  • Application of Ranganathan's Laws to the Web, by Alireza Noruzi, Webology, Volume 1, Number 2, December, 2004
  • Putting Facets on the Web: An Annotated Bibliography, by William Denton, Oct. 2003
  • Cana, M. (2003, July 5). Open source and Ranganathan's five laws of library science. [Extract: Recognizing Ranganathan’s five laws of Library Science and their underlying concepts as powerful inspirations for social change, I would like analyze the open source software, as defined by the Open Source Initiative (OSI), and its congruency with the five laws.]

    My publications relating to this nexus include:
  • Save the Time of the Godly: Information Mediators Role in Promoting Spiritual & Religious Accommodation,
  • The Reference Interview Through Asynchronous E-Mail and Synchronous Interactive Reference: Does It Save the Time of the Interviewee?
  • Every Book Its Reader - Ranganathan's Law Visualized
  • Information Visualization: Innovative Practices to Connect Every Book, Its Reader, A Survey
  • Searching Is Polarized; Will The Five Laws Get a New Revised Version: Every Search Engine Its Searcher
  • Library is a Growing Organism - Dr. Ranganathan's Fifth Law Revisited
  • The Informed Librarian Online: Save the Time of the Librarian

    The backend story as it unfolds: In the past, there has been a great appreciation of the works of this Indian guru of Information profession. For example, his mentor, Mr. Berwick Sayers, termed this age as the Age of Ranganathan.*** Another tribute, came from the American Library Association (1964): Your ideas are universal. You answer the challenge of the future with challenge. Most of us are not your disciples, all of us are your students. For a generation you have forced librarians to think. We are proud to be in your debt. Let us change our approach and start reading, learning and experimenting what Dr. Ranganathan has started and written for us. That will be appropriate tribute that we will pay to this greatest professional, scientist of the world.”"*

    * The Five Laws, as norms or principles, designed for library service received attention from individuals and professional bodies, alike.

    *** reported by Mahmud Hussain, Of Libraries and Librarianship. (Karachi, University Library, 1974), and cited in Libraries and Librarianship in India, by Mohamed Taher and Donald G. Davis, Jr., (Delhi, Concept, 1994): p. 103; Guru Dutt, K. The inwardness of Dr Ranganathan. "Herald of library science", 12 (1973), p. 122; and American revised version of Five Laws, in Ranganathan: A Universal Librarian, by Fazle Kabir, 2003; Gorman, M. (1995). Five new laws of librarianship. American Libraries, 26 (8), 784-785.

    Michael May said...

    Thanks for this interesting post on the "emerging nexus between WWW era and Five Laws."

    As mentioned by others, dLIST is in the process of posting the full text of the original 1931 edition of S.R. Ranganathan's The Five Laws of Library Science online:

    When thinking about SRR's Five Laws and the WWW, don't forget the original context of the laws! Please see my comments here:

    For more about the original context and importance of the Five Laws, be sure to read Mohamed Taher's Libraries in India's National Developmental Perspective (2001).


    Mohamed Taher said...

    Hi Mike

    Thanks for the appreciation and understanding of my passion.

    And, thank you for the kind words about my book.

    I wish OA and dLIST all the best.