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Subject: [tm-pubsubj-comment] Good PSIs never die

Tom, Lars Marius

I think that thread relevant to PubSubj should be continued on tm-pubsubj-comments list.

[Lars Marius]
> > We do need to be *really* clear on one thing: the subject indicator
> > itself (the resource, the text, the thing humans read) is *only* for
> > human documentation. It has no other purpose whatsoever. When machines
> > do merging they use the URI (also known as the subject identifier,
> > precisely for that reason).

[Tom P]
> Yes, I just wonder if machines may get more in the picture in the future.

That's a good question. Definitely, we must consider they should. In fact, if we define a
set of required metadata, and recommendations for PSIs structure and syntax, it's clearly
with the intention - in the corner of my mind at least - that processing of PSIs could go
further than comparing the URI identifier for sake of identification and merging, e.g.
search engines could spider those standardized metadata and retrieve PSIs for a given
domain, subject, and/or publishing authority.

[Tom P]
> It may be too legalistic a thought on my part.  If a PSI __must__ point to a
> retrievable resource, and suddenly it no longer is retrievable, strictly
> speaking the thing can't be a PSI any more.  What then should happen to all
> those places it has been referenced?

Has a dead person still an identity? I think yes, sort of, although you can't meet her
anymore ...
A PSI having lost its retrievable resource is like that dead person. The identity still
means something for those who have known her and remember. For those who have not it's too
late to meet her ... but they can agree on her identity anyway, and sort of know her
through whatever those who have known say about her.

If a PSI has been used in hundreds of places, you can somehow figure what it means looking
at how it's been used, even if the original indicator is not there any more. The meaning
of a PSI builds up by agreement of people to use it. Remember you still agree on what "Big
Oak Cross" means, and are able to have a rendez-vous there, centuries after Big Oak has
been cut down ...

> It's better than broken links, though.  Broken links give you nothing, but
> non-retrievable PSIs still mean the same thing, I would hope.

Yes. They "remember" having meant the same thing. And, as Lars Marius pointed, you can
always transfer the subject indicator to a new URI, and include in this new subject
indicator the old subject identifier ... PSI "reincarnation", sort of.

It figures ... good PSIs never die.


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