December 1, 2015

New Report: OCLC Researchers Reorder and Reinterpret Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science For Today’s World

Here’s a new report published today by OCLC Senior Research Scientist Lynn Silipigni Connaway and Associate Research Scientist Ixchel Fanie.

This report is titled Reordering Ranganathan: Shifting User Behaviors, Shifting Priorities and suggests that Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science can be reordered and reinterpreted to reflect today’s library resources and services, as well as the behaviors that people demonstrate when engaging with them.

Although Lynn and Ixchel believe Ranganathan’s five laws are still relevant today, their intent is to help evolve both the work done by librarians and the perceptions of libraries and librarians. By changing how we think about the five laws in terms of interpretation and order of importance, Lynn and Ixchel hope to reflect the current resources and services available for use and the behaviors that people demonstrate when engaging with them.

Highlights from the Report

  • Today’s library users challenge librarians to move from the simple declaration of “save the time of the reader”; meeting today’s users’ needs requires embedding library systems and services into their existing workflows
  • Our modern-day rephrasing of “every person his or her book” is know your community and its needs
  • The core meaning of “books are for use” is still about access; however, our interpretation focuses on developing the physical and technical infrastructure needed to deliver materials
  • Our interpretation of “every book its reader” focuses on increasing the discoverability, access and use of resources within users’ existing workflows
  • We agree that “a library is a growing organism” and propose growing users’ share of attention

The objective of this publication is to provide a timely and relevant context for Ranganathan’s laws that today’s librarians, library researchers and information scientists can refer to as they think about making changes in practice and developing agendas for future research.


From: Reordering Ranganathan: Shifting User Behaviors, Shifting Priorities (2014); Source: OCLC

Direct to Full Text Report (135 pages; PDF)

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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