ASIS&T 2005 START ConferenceManager    

Semiotics and Sensemaking: Mapping the relations

Dr. Myke Gluck

Sparking Synergies: Bringing Research and Practice Together @ ASIST '05 (ASIS&T 2005)
Westin Charlotte, Charlotte, North Carolina, October 28 - November 2, 2005


Dervin has expressed the basic need for humans to seek resolution of information needs in her theory and methodology called "Sense-making." Sense-making is often encapsulated in her situation-gap-use implementation. Concurrently, semiologists study signs and their meaning and often encapsulate their understanding in the Piercian view of sign vehical-referent-interpretant as a means of linking the representation, meaning and ground truth of a concept. This work presented in poster format is an attempt to deconstruct sense-making within a semiological framework and suggests alternative relationships of the components of the Dervin triplet with the components of the Piercian triplet. The work is based upon data collected and analyzed simultaneous with sense-making and semiotic methodologies of cartographic images (maps) by semiologists and non-symbolic specials to derive the alternative associations of the triplets. Possible interpretations of the relationships are suggested.

The core of the work is interviews using sense making and a comparison of the Dervin triplet with the Pierce semiotic triplet (all data collected already). I have used geographic imagery from corporate annual reports to study the user side and then done semiotic analysis interviews with several geographers versed in both Pierce, Saussure, Eco, etc. semiotic schools using the same imagery.

They provide the semioticians' view of the same imagery. Using these data sets I have matched up the various elements of each triplet indicating the relationship between, say, the semiotic symbol and Devin's user's gaps, and uses as interpretants. Other possible relationships among the elements of the two triplets are presented, and the consequences described for sense making and semiotics. The Dervin triplet, of course, is the situation-gap-use and the Pierce triplet is the sign vehicle, referent, and the meaning (to the viewer).

The work seems to provide a better grasp of how users understand and navigate symbols and how users inform semioticians. Similarly, semiotics seems to inform sense-making (capital SM for the theory) clarifying the user meanderings through needs and uses and making the situation's events more easily integrated, and less idiosyncratic (in spite of the theories claims).

Pictorially the poster would present several pairings of the elements and explore the various consequences of the pairings.

START Conference Manager (V2.49.6)