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081016 Social Tagging, Online Communication, and Peircean Semiotics


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One of the recent Web developments has focused on the opportunities it presents for social tagging through user participation and collaboration. As a result, social tagging has changed the traditional online communication process. The interpretation of tagging between humans and machines may create new problems if essential questions about how social tagging corresponds to online communications, what objects the tags refer to, who the interpreters are, and why they are engaged are not explored systematically. Since all reasoning is an interpretation of social tagging among humans, tags, and machines, it is a complex issue that calls for deep reflection. In this paper, we investigate the relevance of the potential problems raised by social tagging through the framework of C. S. Peirce’s semiotics. We find that general phenomena of social tagging can be well classified by Peirce’s ten classes of signs for reasoning. This suggests that regarding social tagging as a sign and systematically analyzing the interpretation are positively associated with the ten classes of signs. Peircean semiotics can be used to examine the dynamics and determinants of tagging; hence, the various uses of this categorization schema may have implications for the design and development of information systems and Web applications.

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081016 Social Tagging, Online Communication, and Peircean Semiotics

  1. 1. A Conceptual Framework To appear in Journal of Information Science. 2008. Post-print full paper:
  2. 2. What? What? What? A Conceptual Framework • Social Tagging… sounds familiar. • Online Communication… looks no problem. • Peircean Semiotics…?...?...? systematic abstract dynamic pragmatic 2 Huang & Chuang, 2008
  3. 3. Put it in two chemical metaphors… A Conceptual Framework • P i ’ one sign ~ one b i chemical element ( Peirce’s i basic h i l l t (proton). t ) Representation Interpretant I t t t In Peircean semiotics, the formal condition of a sign must contain three parts, {Representation, Object, Interpretant}, Object One proton is to be considered composed of three a complete sign. quarks. 3 Huang & Chuang, 2008
  4. 4. Put it in two metaphors metaphors… A Conceptual Framework • Peirce’s ten class of signs ~the Periodic Table. Peirce s Table providing a framework to classify, to systematize and to compare all the many different forms of sign/ information/tag/(chemical) behavior. 4 Huang & Chuang, 2008
  5. 5. users act like lightweight system designers in the new online communication process A Conceptual Framework General users are Writing wiki… General users are blogging… General users are mashing web services… 5 Huang & Chuang, 2008: introduction
  6. 6. The changing Of Online Communication Process … A Conceptual Framework dimensions interpretations the difficulty lies in the interpretation along technical and social dimensions. dimensions tags 6 Huang & Chuang, 2008: research problems
  7. 7. Lack of a systematical exploration of the overall picture picture… A Conceptual Framework Why are people engaged in social tagging? Who are the interpreters? What objects do the tags refer to ? Human How does social tagging correspond to online communications ? Information Machine (tag) 7 Huang & Chuang, 2008: research problems
  8. 8. The k Th keys t analyze these questions are: to l th ti The framework of Peirce’s A Conceptual Framework semiotics: (1) Triadic sign theory. (2) Ten classes of Signs. 8 Huang & Chuang, 2008: section 3,4,5
  9. 9. A Conceptual Framework Our three conclusions machine are: meaning i human meaning Tagging T i ( ) (1) we regard tagging as sign that g gg g g as conveys human and machine meanings in the online Sign communication process. process 9 Huang & Chuang, 2008
  10. 10. (2) we identify ten classes of social tagging signs to offer a semiotic solution to the vagueness and ambiguity of tagging in the online communication g y gg g process. process. A Conceptual Framework 10 Huang & Chuang, 2008
  11. 11. (3.1) a systematic approach is offered here to explore the interrelationships between social tagging, online communication and the concepts of Peircean semiotics; A Conceptual Framework 11 Huang & Chuang, 2008
  12. 12. (3.2) some practical implications for user-community user- designs and the use of tagging technologies are discussed. A Conceptual Framework For pragmatic designs the properties of the 6 Open signs direct designs, the use for community of interest design; the 3 Informational signs fall into personal preference; and the 1 Formal sign is completed as a powerful constraints on the relative properties of other signs signs. For semantic implications, the properties of the 3 Iconic signs implications demonstrate the possibility or appearance with similar properties of th referred objects; th 4 I d i l signs are grouped t d the f d bj t the Indexical i d to draw users’ attentions to the existence or existential relation of objects; and the 3 Symbolic signs is completed as a powerful constraints on th relative properties of other signs. the l ti ti f th i The main value of the ten class of signs is the ability to predict the sign characters of an element based on its location on the sign class; as well as the relationship between each signs such as the Replica relations of Signs (2,5); Signs (3,6,8); and Signs (4,7,9,10). 12 Huang & Chuang, 2008
  13. 13. Open Questions (1)… A Conceptual Framework wants to design designer Web (3)Tag List Ten class of “Tag list” as a Tag List broad Sign. re-classify Can this dynamic application be done? 13 Huang & Chuang, 2008
  14. 14. Open Questions (2)… A Conceptual Framework search terms re-cast Web Keyword user Archives personal preference review pre-classify auto- recommen dation tags d ti t Will this application be seen ? 14 Huang & Chuang, 2008
  15. 15. Open Questions (3)… A Conceptual Framework 15 Huang & Chuang, 2008
  16. 16. 1 1. introduction 2. problems A Conceptual Framework triadic sign 3. triadic sign interpretant of social t i l tagging i 4. three content universal categories 5. ten classes of signs 6. discussions & implications 7. 7 conclusion 16 Huang & Chuang, 2008
  17. 17. no essential direct relationship between R &O A Conceptual Framework According t P i A di to Peirce, a sign i “ is something, A, which brings something B its something, B, interpretant sign determined or created by it, into the same sort of correspondence with something, C, something C its object, as object, that in which itself stands to C.” 17 Huang & Chuang, 2008: triadic sign
  18. 18. A Conceptual Framework 18 Huang & Chuang, 2008: interpretant of social tagging
  19. 19. A Conceptual Framework Open informational Formal • Mark • Mark • Mark Iconic • Token Iconic • Token Iconic • Token • Type T • Type • Type • Token • Token • Token Open Indexical Informational Formal • Type Indexical •TType Indexical •TType Symbolic • Type Sy bo c Symbolic • Type Symbolic Sy bo c • Type 19 Huang & Chuang, 2008: ten classes of signs
  20. 20. Our Research Concept: A Conceptual Framework 20 Huang & Chuang, 2008
  21. 21. The sign deals with the possibility of first observation in order to determine the possible evidence for future acts. A Conceptual Framework • it is a feeling of something. In social tagging, the terms of “tagging”, “social tagging”, “ folksonomy” or “tagsonomy” initially any possible feeling of social tagging concepts. g gg g p a feeling no determined Representation of “How” tag should represent it. “What” the icon sign refers to some characters or likeness of tagging Objects whether any such Object exist or not. The sign is interpreted by user community openly for their community of interest according to their past experience. This Interpretation is itself of a sign for social tagging by “Wh and I t t ti i it lf f i f i lt i b “Who d Why” questions. 21 Huang & Chuang, 2008: ten classes of tagging signs
  22. 22. The second sign is the actual existence of the Sign (1); an individual or particular copy of a tag (Type); in theory there can be lots of tokens of a theory, single type (tag). A Conceptual Framework Tag clouds resemble their likeness of characters as tagging, but represent in the actual form of the cloud diagram; the visualization of the most used tags of a folksonomy. Sinclair and Cardew-Hall (2008): a “visual summary of contents” / it serves as a broad and y general categorization of information. Hearst and Rosner (2008): “social signallers” Sign (2) is a sign of an individual diagram, which allows several copies of a single tag; however, it only determines the idea or feeling of an object, irrespective of whether any such object exists. From this perspective, tag clouds are not meant to be, and are not noted for, their information accuracy. t t d f th i i f ti 22 Huang & Chuang, 2008: ten classes of tagging signs
  23. 23. In theory this sign is any object of direct theory, connection or existential relation, as it directs A Conceptual Framework attention to an Object by which its existence is caused. caused The sign deals with possible evidence as some relations have been connected connected. It is the sign to indicate some past state of affairs. It forces the attention to the particular object intended without describing it. Tag clustering, in social tagging cases, indicates g g, gg g , some past state of tag connection. Its Object deals with existential relation for the Index while Representing forms are still remain in the level of Token. Tag Clusters are the actual existence of some single tag copies according to a certain degree of similarity like related tags or patterns. 23 Huang & Chuang, 2008: ten classes of tagging signs
  24. 24. Tag Clustering of “web” in flickr A Conceptual Framework Before Clustering Clustering with related words 24 Huang & Chuang, 2008: ten classes of tagging signs
  25. 25. any object of direct experience, connection or existential relation. Personomy: the collection of personal tags acrossConceptual Framework A different web systems. Tag RSS: The tag acts as an indexical token that finds web resources related to the token in various web services. 25 Huang & Chuang, 2008: ten classes of tagging signs
  26. 26. deals with the operation of Representation to create or discover a possible rule. The mode of being of Sign (5) is that of governing single R li i i l Replicas, each of which will b h f hi h ill be A Conceptual Framework a Sign (2) of a peculiar kind. 26 Huang & Chuang, 2008: ten classes of tagging signs
  27. 27. any general law or type that requires each instance of it to be strongly influenced by its indexical Object Object. Each Replica of Sign (6) will be a Sign (3) of a A Conceptual Framework peculiar kind. tags with specific forms that are not in the t ith ifi f th t t i th vocabulary, e.g., “DSC-R1 for he Sony DSC-R1 camera fans; “ACIA” are used differently in different comm nities communities. (1) community knowledge can be explored by using specific tags. tags (2) non-vocabulary tags prevent public understanding and provide identification for specific events (3) a tool to express or promote a community’s campaigns or interests. 27 Huang & Chuang, 2008: ten classes of tagging signs
  28. 28. any general type or law. Sign(7) requires each case of the sign to be really affected by its Object and provides definite information about the Object. A Conceptual Framework Each Replica of Sign (7) will be a Sign (4) of a peculiar kind personal tags as indexical objects in system. one s stem “semantic web” as a tag used by different g y ff users for grouping their own objects 28 Huang & Chuang, 2008: ten classes of tagging signs
  29. 29. connected with its Object by any connection of general ideas; The Replica of Sign (8) is Sign (3) of a peculiar kind. common words are usually embedded with A Conceptual Framework conventional rules for linguistic meanings, but without any specific explanation in p y p p practice. Noll & Meinel (2007): tags, popular tags which account for half the tags in use, are general rather than specific. 29 Huang & Chuang, 2008: ten classes of tagging signs
  30. 30. its intended Interpretant represents as an existential relation that must be connected with the indicated Object; the Replica of Sign (9) is a Sign (4) of a peculiar kind kind. A Conceptual Framework tagging is mainly for personal purposes (Golder & Huberman, 2006; Zollers, 2007) , ; , ) tags’ linguistic forms of non-nominal representations ( g verbs and adjectives) are p (e.g., j ) regarded as supplements of categories that take their meanings from the categories’ descriptions (Veres, 2006) Personal tagging as personal statement by The K Th KronoNaut at N t t Flickr 30 Huang & Chuang, 2008: ten classes of tagging signs
  31. 31. the t l i th most complex sign restricted b certain t i t d by t i rules, which is mainly restricted by designers for logical reasoning process. A Conceptual Framework Three levels of Interpreters with their interpretation tags are provided by system designers as a recommendation mechanism for del icio us users to tag their bookmarks. 31 Huang & Chuang, 2008: ten classes of tagging signs
  32. 32. A Conceptual Framework the emergence of online communication systems can be understood as a sign within “a communication of programs between computers from man to computers from computers, computers, man to man, as well as from man to himself himself” … Heinz Zemanek (1965) 32 Huang & Chuang, 2008: ten classes of tagging signs