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Once You See It, You Can't Unsee It: Tracing Information Ecologies

About the Talk

April 24, 2015 2:10 PM

Minneapolis, MN

Minneapolis, MN

Ted Nelson declared and Peter Morville later echoed, "Everything is deeply intertwingled." A portmanteau of entwined and intermingled, intertwingled refers to the extreme embedded and woven nature of information. Information, by nature, is more like an ecology and less like the uber-rational, hierarchical forms that we have long worked with a prescribed in our work as architects. For this ecological paradigm, we need methods that are better suited to working with ecologies of meaning instead of methods that prescribe architectures of information.

Where do ecologies begin and (where) do they end? How do we identify them, let alone observe them in motion and work with(in) them? To answer these questions, I will introduce a linguistic and rhetorical research method that can help us, as information professionals, see the contours of ecologies of meaning in speech, text, and symbols. As you become more familiar with tracing ecologies, you will be able to approach your own projects from an ecological perspective. In web speak, once you see an ecology of meaning, you won’t be able to unsee it!

Session Takeaways

  • Understanding of metaphors as nodes in ecologies of meaning Why this method is important for doing humane and compassionate info work (compared to other forms of research, e.g. quantitative-oriented methods)
  • Ability to identify ecologies of meaning in texts and transcripts
  • Ability to follow-up on the topics here to learn more information about I have used this method and how Lakoff and Johnson theorize metaphors.

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