Since the 1950s, Ranganathan’s work has exerted a great influence on theories of classification and systems of knowledge organization. Subsequent developments, especially by the UK Classification Research Group (CRG), have helped to direct debate and attention towards solving problems of scientific information management, which had become urgent, or — rather — unavoidable, after the end of the World War II.
In 1955, CRG published the famous manifesto in which they proclaimed “the need for a faceted classification as the basis of all information retrieval”. The work of this group of researchers, among which we can at least remember the contributions of Brian Vickery and Douglas John Foskett on the technique of facet analysis and the new edition of the Bliss Classification directed by Jack Mills and Vanda Broughton, somewhat narrowed the line of enquiry and made it little aware of some relevant issues that arise in the fields of history of culture and philosophy, as well as other concepts and notions that are part of Ranganathan’s linguistic, mathematical, and philosophical background. However, a major shift in the concepts and practices of how information works or is used occurred in the last twenty years or so, as a consequence of the rapid growth and spread of what has become the communication platform par excellence: the Web.
In recent times, the exchange and sharing of content of all kinds are increasingly grounded in a digital environment and information landscape, where information systems (online catalogs, licensed databases, etc.) and digital libraries play an increasingly crucial role in scholarly communication. The Web and ICTs have largely contributed to the development of a field of research that is methodological in nature and interdisciplinary in scope. A new term has been quite recently introduced to designate this field: Digital Humanities (DH).
The analysis method and the information management system proposed by Ranganathan have had a huge impact on the modern knowledge organization, as well as a wide popularity and use on the Web as a privileged approach to information architecture. Thus, the figure and the work of Ranganathan have become a point of confluence and convergence of different subject areas and disciplines. In many ways, therefore, Ranganathan can be regarded as a forerunner and a precursor of the digital humanities.