A weblog following developments around the world in FRBR: Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records.

Maintained by William Denton, Web Librarian at York University. Suggestions and comments welcome at wtd@pobox.com.


Confused? Try What Is FRBR? (2.8 MB PDF) by Barbara Tillett, or Jenn Riley's introduction. For more, see the basic reading list.

Books: FRBR: A Guide for the Perplexed by Robert Maxwell (ISBN 9780838909508) and Understanding FRBR: What It Is and How It Will Affect Our Retrieval Tools edited by Arlene Taylor (ISBN 9781591585091) (read my chapter FRBR and the History of Cataloging).

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Ranganathan, The Five Laws of Library Science

Posted by: William Denton, 12 January 2007 7:33 am
Categories: Books

S.R. Ranganathan‘s 1931 masterpiece The Five Laws of Library Science is available online as 10 PDFs at the dLIST open access archive at the University of Arizona. You should read it.

The five laws are:

  1. Books are for use.
  2. Every person his [or her] book.
  3. Every book its reader.
  4. Save the time of the reader.
  5. The library is a growing organism.

I think the book is one of the most important works written in library science. I think the laws should underpin everything we do every day. Memorize them so you can quote them in meetings. You’ll be amazed at how they cut things down to some sensible size and help you remember what’s important.

FRBR fulfills the laws: it will help people find their books, it will help books be found, it will save the time of the reader, and it is part of the continuing growth of libraries not just in shelves and buildings but in ideas and services.

You’ll also be interested in Ranganathan’s Monologue on Melvil Dewey, a fifteen-minute talk he gave in 1964.


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