Subject analysis is very interesting. In a recent investigation into a theory of subject analysis, I was introduced to the concepts of: "about-ness", "is-ness", "of-ness".
Sometimes I wonder if linguists defy standard practices in subject representation, of if they define what a general population holds as a challenge with subject analysis in cataloging.
I harken to the OLAC application profile, which is based on Dublin Core. Dublin Core does not scope the subject element to "about-ness" analysis. UNT curriculum, informed and based (in structure) on Steven J. Miller', Metadata for Digital Collections: A How-To-Do-It Manual. The issue at hand is that for linguists, about-ness is only relevant for Information resources representing analysis. For other kinds of resources such as primary oral texts, or narratives captured via video which are often the object analyzed and discussed in information resources representing analysis, the primary view on subjecthood is through of-ness. As far as I know no-one has discussed audio and of-ness descriptions of audio.
It also makes me wonder if genre is mostly about utility and not about a binding style. To this end then a scholar looking for a phonology corpus, is looking for what—a combination of things—a MIMEType, with a relationship to another MIMEType, with an of-ness of a kind and a subject of "phonology".
By splitting up the concepts of: "about-ness", "is-ness", and "of-ness" it provides analytical space for more articulate descriptions in the dc:description field. But when it comes to language materials, the question is: is language a subject by virtue of "of-ness" or by virtue of "about-ness"? There are several implications here:
- The description field ought to be re-thought.
- The subject field ought to be re-thought.
- Some searches by linguists are likely the concatenation of two or three factors: A relationship between two records, and a subject of a kind and a subject of a different kind.