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A Primer On Ranganathan’s Book Number

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About the Book

Book numbers being meted out a neglected care over the century of their existence, now seem an endangered species. Only a few classificationists have invested on them enough care and S.R. Rengnathan is foremost among them. Book numbers are indispensable for any discrete book arrangement on shelves and for giving unique call numbers to library documents by a relative classification system. Any book arrangement without them will ensure pockets of chaos. Moreover classified catalogue and shelf lists will be impossible without them. Ranganathan discerning their importance, made a thorough study of the subject. He endowed this topic- then more or less a native craft- with an academic face – lift. He formulated a far more sophisticated and well sounded system of book numbers that was till then available. Though based on a system by W.S. Biscoe, Ranganathan’s system brings book numbers to a full bloomed maturity. This system, based on chronological sub-arrangements of books within a given specific class, is considered better in every respect to any alphabetical author marks such as those by Cutter. Sanborne and others. This book has for its subject the narrow theme to explain Ranganathan’s book number in all its details, ramifications and intricacies. Text has been illustrated with ample examples. Being a textbook, naturally it conveys material not one’s own. Yet it explains at length at times what Ranganathan merely insinuates-or takes it granted as is commonly understood. This book is primarily aimed at assisting the students and practitioners of colon classification. Libraries using other schemes, say DDC, can also use this system with no less advantage.


M.P. Satija. M.A., M.Lib.Sc. (b. 1949) is currently serving as lecturer in the Department of Library Science, G.N.D. University, Amritsar. He has so far authored 5 books and has written over two dozen articles which have been published in national and foreign library journals. He is the Joint Secretary of the Classification Society of India and is also Indian correspondent of Library Times International published from U.S.A.

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