The Father of Library Science and Father of Library Movement in India, Padamashree Dr.Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan Ayyar is a true disciple of Library Science ,a proud philosopher and guide to thousands of library professionals in India was born at Shiyali (Madras State), Tanjavoor District of Tamil Nadu, India. His birth anniversary is officially celebrated on 12th August as Librarian’s Day throughout India for his worldwide contributions in Library Science. Today is the Birth Anniversary of renowned scholar.Dr.S.R.Ranganathan a noted Librarian, Mathematician, an Author, Academician, and Classificationist is regarded as a key figure in the 20th century librarianship, and second perhaps only to his American counterpart Melvil Dewey.
His Contributions to Library Science
Five Laws of Library Science
He formulated Five Laws of Library Science in 1928 and was first published in the book The Five Laws of Library Science in 1931. These are widely accepted as a definitive statement of the ideal of library service.These laws are:
First Law: Books are for use.
Second Law: Every reader his/her book.
Third Law: Every book its reader.
Fourth Law: Save the time of the reader.
Fifth Law: A library is a growing organism.
Colon Classification (CC)
One major contributions of Ranganathan to librarianship is his method of faceted classification which is known as the analytico-synthetic method. Classification is the artificial number given to the tile of a book which is written on the circular white slip pasted on the spine of the book so as to locate the book on the shelves. According to researchers, the method is more flexible and precise than other systems.
His Colon Classification, the only Indian schemes of classification for classifying the books and other documents published in 1933 introduced a system that is still widely used in research libraries around the world and has influenced other classification systems. Ranganathan was a mathematics lecturer. It was a mere accident that he was appointed Librarian of the Madras University Library in the year 1924. He was soon deputed to Britain for an observational tour of British libraries. While in Britain he also attended classes in the School of Librarianship, University of London. Berwick Sayers, known as the grammarian of library classification, was one of the teachers at the School. During his tour of Britain; Ranganathan visited several libraries and was quick to notice the lacunae in the classification schemes in use then. A chance visit to a departmental store in London gave Ranganathan a clue for evolving a scheme of classification. He saw the demonstration of a toy called meccano set. The meccano set consists of several slotted strips, rods, wheels, screws, nuts and bolts with which several different models could be made. This gave him the idea that in a classification scheme there should be standard units that could be joined by connecting symbols. Ranganathan’s standard units resembled the strips and his connecting symbols resembled the nuts and bolts of the meccano set. The standard units became the schedules. Thus, a class number could be constructed with the different elements enumerated in the schedules with a connecting symbol and he chose the colon as the connecting symbol. The foundation of Colon Classification was laid in Britain in the year 1924. In 1925, his journey back to India gave Ranganathan ample time to work on the schedules. The library on the ship he was travelling in and the Madras University Library’s book catalogue, which he was carrying with him served as the working equipment for him. On reaching Madras he took up the work of classifying the Madras University Library collection. The years between 1925 and 1932 were devoted mainly to the construction of the schedules of CC. In 1929, he also established a library school at the University. Both teaching and library work at the University contributed immensely to the publication of the first edition of Colon Classification .Designed by Dr.S.R. Ranganathan and published first in 1933 by the Madras Library Association, the Colon Classification brought a revolution in classification theory and practice.
Dr.S.R.Ranganathan was instrumental in revolutionising the Theory of Classification. He propounded certain fundamental ideas and concepts, which are the basis for the development of the Theory of Classification. He worked vigorously towards the most helpful and filiatory sequence of classes in a scheme of classification based on the concept of Facet Analysis and Fundamental Categories
Over his lifetime, he wrote over 2000 research papers, 60 books and founded and edited five periodical publications. He also drafted plans for a national and several state library systems, founded and edited several journals, and was active in numerous professional associations. In 1965 he was honoured by the Indian Government with the title of National Research Professor in Library Science.
(The author is Assistant Professor, University of Jammu, Jammu)