Jeroen talks about The Subjectory

Recently I had been invited to give a presentation at ELAG 2008 in Wageningen, one of the leading professional library automation conferences. With a lecture called: "Rethinking Subject Access" for an audience of about 100 people, I had the opportunity to play around with several ideas that have been brewing in my mind for the last few months. These ideas can be summarized as: "The Subjectory."

A video of this presentation is available: click on "read more" below this message to get at it.

In my work I noticed a missing link in between "the real world" (which partially exists already online, but online still is a lot more real than in people's heads only) and "the semantic web," which is one of the developments in science and technology that stubbornly maintains the status of very promising without real breakthroughs for several years. Providing this missing link is not simple, but it can be done.

This presentation at ELAG was the first occasion to bring my ideas to the public. They are not shocking or new or a breakthrough, but they may be called innovative, as I make use of several existing technologies to create a new type of repository, a Subjectory, which has a very specific role in the conceptual world, a role that until now has not really been identified.

The presentation was scheduled late in the afternoon, so I had to capture the audience with nearly no slide show and a lot of activity, to keep them from dozing off. Well, making theatre never was a problem for me... It leads to a peculiar start of the presentation, but it worked exactly as planned. And in the end I even got good questions.

It was also a good occasion to plug the MACS project a bit, I will write about this project later on. And it is no coincidence that my current job at Synergetics also heavily relies on the Subjectory idea.

A video of my presentation (running about 35 minutes) can be found at my web site. It is a 118Mbyte WMV file, so you probably want to stream it. Should it not work for you, here is the original presentation at the Wageningen library site. It has the advantage that it also shows my slides, but it is claimed to work on Internet Explorer only. People have already reported success with VLC so you may get lucky. The stream itself is here for the brave.

The video was shot using an auto-track camera. I had been wired with a wireless headset microphone and an infrared beamer, which allowed the swivel-mounted camera above the audience to follow me while I walked around on stage.

[EDIT] A new posting about the Subjectory has been added on 2008-12-28.