I'm trying to set up a naming convention for some software I'm working on, and I need a name for the thing that people subscribe to. In my model we have:

  • Subscriber (a person)
  • Subscription (the 'link' between the person and the thing being subscribed to.
  • ??? (The thing that the person has subscribed to).

In this case, ??? needs to be some generic name. I'm currently using 'Series', but that's not self-explanatory, and is also somewhat painful (in the software environment I'm using) as the singular and plural is the same.

As an analogy, we might have:

  • Employee (the person who is employed)
  • Employment (the position/role of the person)
  • Employer (the company or person providing the position)

Except that 'employment' is continuous, and I need a discrete term: the subscriber receives a series of individual 'things' as part of their subscription, rather than a recurring payment for a continuous service.

  • 1
    In the library world, they would be called serials, singular serial, or periodical(s).
    – 1006a
    Mar 20, 2017 at 15:07
  • 1
    I have never heard of a subscriband, but why not?
    – GEdgar
    Mar 20, 2017 at 15:07
  • 1
    Anything beginning with 'sub' is going to sound off. The act of subscribing is, etymologically speaking writing beneath it, signing it at the bottom, underwriting it, So you want a word for the thing which is above the writing below it. etymonline.com/index.php?term=subscribe Surscription? Which means it is whatever it would be if no-one subscribed, if you see what I mean. It just is what it is.
    – Spagirl
    Mar 20, 2017 at 15:13
  • Perhaps simply "Subject"? Mar 20, 2017 at 15:26
  • "Serial" or "Periodical" expresses what I'm after - but it seems a bit ... old-fashioned, I guess. 1006a - if you make this an answer, I'll accept it if no one else has any other flashes of brilliance. Thanks!
    – Beejamin
    Mar 20, 2017 at 15:43

3 Answers 3


One normally subscribes to a Service - whether that be the provision of a monthly magazine, the the provision of technical support, the provision of access to a particular website, etc..

1. [mass noun] The action of helping or doing work for someone.
1.1 [count noun] An act of assistance.
1.2 Assistance or advice given to customers during and after the sale of goods.

  • In my case I want to express that the subscribe receives 'a series of things' via their subscription (rather than something continuous like a service). Sorry - my Employee/Employer analogy probably isn't the best. Thanks anyway - Service would work in a lot of cases, though.
    – Beejamin
    Mar 20, 2017 at 15:46
  • So...use the plural: services. The term is still applicable. Mar 20, 2017 at 15:51
  • Being sent "a series of things" is still a service. A service does not have to be continuous: it can be a monthly or periodic service; it can be a service provided for a fixed period of time; etc..
    – TrevorD
    Mar 20, 2017 at 15:51
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    Why don't you want to call that a service? The service is the monthly delivery of a choice of wines.
    – TrevorD
    Mar 21, 2017 at 0:03
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    @Beejamin Now you've changed the Q.! Anyway, if - as you now say - the software is to be used for other services, then you need a generic name for the field, namely "service" and the data contained within that field will differentiate the wine service from the other services.
    – TrevorD
    Mar 21, 2017 at 23:50

Publisher. It maps nicely to real world subscribers who receive subscriptions to periodicals from publishers. And the general pattern is known as the Publish-subscribe pattern.

  • That's not bad, but not quite right, I don't think. I'm familiar with the pub-sub pattern. I feel like the 'Publisher' is the entity that provides (outputs) the thing that you subscribe to - that is, the subscriber and the publisher are the 'people' at each end. In pub-sub terms, I think I'm talking about the 'channel' . Actually... channel could work. Thank you!
    – Beejamin
    May 10, 2017 at 1:02

Maybe, it's just Source?

Because it's the source of the 'things' which the subscriber receives.

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