Between scientific communication, document science and information science: Ranganathan and documentation in the 1950s and 1960s


  • Giulia Crippa University of Bologna



Ranganathan, Document, Documentation, Information Science, Decoloniality


The post-World War II years represent a moment of international reflection on the concept of Documentation, due to the technological-scientific impulse and the constantly growing informational phenomena. Already in 1934, the discussion was outlined by Otlet, giving rise to reflections destined to channel the interests of librarianship and the nascent science of information. An analysis of the process of Ranganathan’s elaboration of the concept of Document and Documentation is proposed in order to understand how the author positions himself, in the rich dialogue involving eminent voices in the field of documentation, from Otlet (1934), Briet (1951) to neo-documentation theorists, in an attempt to better historicize his contribution to the development of Information Science.


Briet 1951 = Suzanne Briet, Qu’est-ce que la documentation?, Paris, Éditions documentaires, industrielles et techniques, 1951.

Buckland 1991 = Michael Buckland, Information retrieval of more than text, «Journal of the American Society for Information Science», 42 (1991), 8, p. 586-588.

Buckland 1992 = Michael Buckland, Emanuel Goldberg, Electronic Document Retrieval, And Vannevar Bush’s Memex, «Journal of the American Society for Information Science», 43 (1992), 4, p. 284-294.

Buckland 1993 = Michael Buckland, et al., Prototyping Enchanced Online Search Capability, in Proceedings of the fourtheenth national online meeting, New Jersey, Learned Information, 1993, p. 51-56.

Buckland 1997 = Michael Buckland, What Is a “Document”?, «Journal of the American Society for Information Science», 9 (1997), 48, p. 804-809.

Buckland 2012 = Michael Buckland, Interrogating spatial analogies relating to knowledge organization: Paul Otlet and others, «Library trends», 61 (2012), 2, p. 271-285.

Bush 1945 = Vannevar Bush, As we may think, «The Atlantic monthly», July 1945, <>.

Le Goff 1978 = Jacques Le Goff, Documento/Monumento, in Enciclopeedia Einaudi, v. 5, Torino, Einaudi, 1978, p. 38-48.

Lund - Buckland 2009 = Niels Windfeld Lund - Michael Buckland, Document, documentation, and the Document Academy: introduction, «Archival Science», 8 (2008), p. 161-164.

Mignolo 2008 = Walter Mignolo, La opción de-colonial: desprendimiento y apertura. Un manifiesto y un caso, «Tabula Rasa», 8 (2008), p. 243-281.

Otlet 1934 = Paul Otlet, Traité de documentation: le livre sur le livre: théorie et pratique, Bruxelles, Editiones Mundaneum, 1934.

Ranganathan 1951 = S.R. Ranganathan, Documentation, «Libri», I (1951), p. 253-260.

Ranganathan 1952 a = S.R. Ranganathan, Why documentation?, «Aslib Proceedings», 4 (1952), 2 p. 105-111.

Ranganathan 1952b = S.R. Ranganathan, The colon classification (5th ed., 2 vols.), Bangalore, S.Ranganathan.

Ranganathan 1955 = S.R. Ranganathan, Documentation in many lands, «ALIS», 2 (1955), 1, p. 21-28.

Ranganathan 1960 = Documentation and its facets, Bombay [et alii], Asia Publishing House, 1960.

Ranganathan 1973 = S.R. Ranganathan, Documentation genesis and development, Delhi [et alii], Vikas Publishing House, 1973.

Rayward 1997 = W. Boyd Rayward, The origins of Information Science and the International Institute of Bibliography/International federation for Information and Documentation (FID), «Journal of the American Society for Information Science», 48 (1997), 4, p. 289-300.

Rufino 2019 = Luiz Rufino, Pedagogia das Encruzilhadas, Rio de Janeiro, Mórula Editorial, 2019.

Said 1996 = Edward Said, Orientalismo – O Oriente como invenção do Ocidente, São Paulo, Companhia das Letras, 1996.



How to Cite

Crippa, G. (2023). Between scientific communication, document science and information science: Ranganathan and documentation in the 1950s and 1960s. Bibliothecae.It, 12(1), 83–109.