LIBRARY CATALOGUE AND THE FIVE LAWS OF LIBRARY SCIENCE
The Five Laws. of Library Science are a set of basic guiding principles for designing and operating a library or a library system. In fact, each one of the activities of a library may be deduced from these Five Laws. For the preparation and production of a library catalogue, a number of useful guidelines are implied in these Five Laws.
The First Law 'Books are for use' indicates the necessity of organising the collections of a library for maximum use, by providing a number of physical facilities and introducing readers services. One such facility is the provision of library catalogue, which throws open to the users the entire collections of a library.
Physical form of the library catalogue should be such that it is flexible, can be kept uptodate by adding entries for new document added to the library from time to time. Similarly, information about the document in the entry should be adequate to identify a document. An annotation and various notes are given to help the readers to make a choice among documents possessed by the library. Obviously without this essential and indispensable tool, users would find it difficult to use the collection. Therefore, a library catalogue is a must.
The Second and Third Laws 'Every reader his book'; 'Every book its reader' imply the way a library catalogue should provide access to the collections of a library, to meet the requirements of users as children, specialist users, physically handicapped persons. Special kinds of analytical entries of documents are to be prepared to reveal the basic contents of documents. For instance, an excellent chapter on information storage and retrieval, forming part of Handbook in Special Librarianship is likely to be missed by a student of library science, if there are no analytical entries for the document.
The Fourth Law 'Save the time of the reader' places great emphasis on time. A catalogue should not only be simple in its design and construction but also should save the time of a reader. Every approach to a document, that is author, title, subject, series, etc. must be provided in a catalogue. Cross-reference entries (i.e., see and see also entries) should be provided for change of names of persons, countries, subjects and institutions. Similarly guidance in the use of library catalogue should be provided by organising orientation courses for newcomers in the., library. Speed is the essence of service.
The Fifth Law 'A library is a growing organism' enjoins a library to view the catalogue in its widest perspective, keeping in view changes and growth in the nature and variety of publications, other forms of documents, needs of users, and such other environmental factors. The advent of the computer and communication technologies has introduced far-reaching changes both in the physical forms of library catalogues and in their internal structure.
Terminals of computers are located at distant parts of the library. Only one main entry is adequate to access the documents and added entries are replaced by access points. Library networks provide access to resources of other libraries. Change is inevitable and a library should always remain alive to changes.