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A Semiotic View of Information: Semiotics as a Foundation of LIS Research in Information Behavior

Sheng-Cheng Huang

ASIS&T Annual Meeting - 2006 (ASIS&T 2006)
Austin, Texas, November 3-9, 2006


Semiotics includes discussions in the pragmatic dimension, the semantic dimension, and the syntactic dimensions to understand an intellectual individual’s state of knowing and ways of obtain knowledge. The pragmatism’s approach of how meanings are made and understood by consequences of an individual’s actions with the surrounding environment and the triadic relation of three dimensions of sign coined by Peirce and Morris are considered applicable in theoretical modeling in many scientific fields such as linguistics, computer science, and human cognition. A semiotic view of information in the act of informing provides an approach of analysis that is useful for the studies of information behavior in the research of library and information science (LIS). Motivated by the lack of a general introduction to semiotics in the context of LIS for information behavior research, the author conducts a review of the ambiguity of information studies, the epistemological concerns and philosophical pragmatism in LIS, and semiotics in an attempt to seek a holistic foundation for LIS research in information behavior. By applying a semiotic view of information seeking activities, researchers of information behavior who focus on how people use linguistic and physical tools to access information will find semiotics a useful epistemological framework within LIS.

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