Information Credo

Wikipedia has this telling info on an outstanding and much awarded CIO in the United Kingdom Mr. J P Rangaswami. I am not drawing attention to him, but to his credo on handling information, which takes pride of place in the wikipedia piece, as of now. I do not know Mr. JPR and he has no reason whatsoever to know me. In the write up, I have changed the credo portion alone to italicized form .

JP Rangaswami (born 12 November 1957 in Calcutta, India) lived in Calcutta for half his life before emigrating to the United Kingdom. He studied Economics and Statistics at St. Xavier's College, University of Calcutta, specializing in developmental economics. Originally an economist and financial journalist, he has worked with technology in finance since 1980 with a number of large multinationals. He was named CIO of the Year by Waters Magazine in 2003, and CIO Innovator of the Year by the European Technology Forum in 2004. In 2007, JP was selected as one of technology's 50 most influential individuals in the Agenda Setters poll. JP was chosen for "vision and innovation rarely seen in CIOs." He is today Managing Director of BT Design for BT Group. Prior to joining BT in 2006, JP was Global CIO at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein. He is a Fellow of both the Royal Society of Arts and the British Computer Society.

JP is an outspoken advocate of open source and using emerging and disruptive technologies to improve information sharing, education and collaboration.

JP is also a popular and irrepressible blogger. On Confused of Calcutta he states the following credo:

  • I believe that it is only a matter of time before enterprise software consists of only four types of application: publishing, search, fulfillment and conversation. I believe that weaknesses and corruptions in our own thinking about digital rights and intellectual property rights will have the effect of slowing down or sometimes even blocking this from happening.
  • I believe we keep building layers of lock-in that prevent information from flowing freely, and that we have a lot to learn about the right thing to do in this respect. I believe identity and presence and authentication and permissioning are in some ways the new battlegrounds, where the freedom of information flow will be fought for, and bitterly.
  • I believe that we do live in an age of information overload, and that we have to find ways of simplifying our access to the information; of assessing the quality of the information; of having better tools to visualise the information, to enrich and improve it, of passing the information on.
  • I believe that Moore’s Law and Metcalfe's Law and Gilder’s Law have created an environment where it is finally possible to demonstrate the value of information technology in simple terms rather than by complex inferences and abstract arguments.
  • I believe that simplicity and convenience are important, and that we have to learn to respect human time.
  • I believe we need to discuss these things and find ways of getting them right.

He is working on a book to be titled Fossil Fools.

JP and his wife, Shane, have three children: Orla, 21; Isaac, 15; and Hope, 9.

In the course of his review of David  Weinberger's book 'Everything is miscellaneous'  Mr. JPR refers to the Laws of Library Science attributed to the great librarian Prof. Ranganathan, as follows:

I was particularly taken with the stories related to S.R. Ranganathan and his Five Laws of Library Science (a term, incidentally, that he is credited with first using). Ranganathan’s Laws are:

  • Books are for use
  • Every reader his/her books
  • Every book its readers
  • Save the time of the reader; save the time of the library staff
  • The library is a growing organism

When I first saw that, something strange stirred in me. I could imagine my maternal grandfather, Dr SV Anantakrishnan, saying just that, right down to the brusque to-the-point-ness. I was therefore completely unsurprised to find out that Ranganathan was, like my grandfather, also a Professor at Madras Christian College (where I holidayed, with my grandfather, every summer from 1961 to 1971 or so). So I will find out everything I can about the man who gave the world Colon Classification!


Two sets of values postulated in two different ages, both underlining simplification and making information truly available!

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