2007-02-23

Adieu to Published Subjects

I've learnt those days that the OASIS Published Subjects Technical Committee, which I've chaired for two years from its foundation in August 2001, was closed. Actually it was officialy closed by OASIS in November 2006, but I had not received any notification from anyone. Sounds like learning the death of an old friend months after.
Actually the activity of the TC was dormant since the publication of its first and somehow unique deliverable Published Subjects: Introduction and Basic Requirements. This output does not seem much after two years of work, but it figures there was not much more we could achieve. In a recent private exchange about the future of Published Subjects, Patrick Durusau, who chaired also this TC after 2003, still wants to believe that it is not the end of it, that the work has stalled mainly by lack of task force, but maybe anyway this TC was a case of premature specification.
I think that the notion of a published "identification" of a subject, whatever you want to call it, is probably a good idea, so long as anyone can add their identification of the same subject. On the other hand, a notion that this *is* the identification of a subject, well, that leads to losing propositions like the stuff you find at Swoogle. How many different identifications of person are there?
I already set this question here two years ago. Amazingly enough, the figures does not seem to have changed since (399 answers by today).
I take the opportunity to point to this paper by Patrick. If you have not figured out what a subject can be, even after an extensive reading of this blog (or don't care going into so much reading) this is a must. Short, clear and to the point.