Shiyali Ramamrita Ranganathan (1892-1972) was a mathematician and librarian who devised the Five Laws of Library Science in addition to Colon Classification (in which books are classified by facets rather than a hierarchical taxonomy). His Five Laws (which every librarian should aspire to) are as follows:
- Books are for use.
- For Every Book its Reader.
- For Every Reader its Book.
- Save the Time of the Reader.
- The Library is a growing organism
On Librarianship as Service (the Second Law):
"Because a postman handing over a packet of printed slips is not like a librarian who establishes contact between books and people"
"What is a library? A library is a collection of books kept for use. Librarianship, then, is connecting a user and a book. Hence the very life of a library is in the personal service given to the people."
On the Library as a Living Organism (the Fifth Law):
"But the vital principle of the library - which has struggled through all the stages of its evolution, is common to all its different forms and will persist to be its distinguishing feature for all time to come - is that it is an instrument of universal education, and assembles together and freely distributes all the tools of education and disseminates knowledge with their aid."
Ranganathan's Colon Classification was a form of faceted classificaiton, rather than a ranked taxonomic subject hierarchy. His classification system seemed to embody a certain amount of mysticism as well, something that would not be out of place in Doctor Who or even quantum physics, perhaps. His facets were as follows: