In previous classes we’ve discussed the artificial language of classification schemes, which are composed of systems of notation. This week we begin to learn the methods of how to assign natural language to a concept or concepts through subject analysis. Taylor’s chapter on “Subject Analysis” presents a comprehensive and compelling perspective of the intricacies of determining the aboutness of items and the difficulty in arriving at an agreed upon term. Taylor writes about a study where for each concept or object an average of 25 topical names were applied! So if people naturally arrive at different terms using different methods of analysis, how do we determine aboutness at all? It seems impossible. However, I think Taylor’s chapter strives to make us aware of the different methods that have been proposed and use them (or not) to form a strategy to create terms consistently and without bias.
I liked the format of this article and how Taylor divided up topics and subtopics discussed. For example, in “Differences of Methods Used” Taylor clearly articulates Langridge’s, Wilson’s, and Use-based approaches to demonstrate the different ways to arrive at a subject term. I also appreciated Taylor’s quick dive into subject analysis of nontextual information resources, which seems to include the semiotic methodology of reading the “text” and sense-making regardless of the medium.