Cybersemiotics and the problems of the information-processing paradigm as a candidate for a unified science of information behind library information science

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Søren Brier


Library Trends , Volume Vol 52, Issue No. 3 (2004)



cybernetics., cybersemiotics, information, semiotics


<p>AS AN ANSWER TO THE HUMANISTIC, SOCIALLY ORIENTED CRITIQUE of the information-processing paradigms used as a conceptual frame for library information science, this article formulates a broader and less objective concept of communication than that of the information-processing paradigm. Knowledge can be seen as the mental phenomenon that documents (combining signs into text, depending on the state of knowledge of the recipient) can cause through interpretation. The examination of these &quot;correct circumstances&quot; is an important part of information science. This article represents the following developments in the concept of information: Information is understood as potential until somebody interprets it. The objective carriers of potential knowledge are signs. Signs need interpretation to release knowledge in the form of interpretants. Interpretation is based on the total semantic network, horizons, worldviews, and experience of the person, including the emotional and social aspects. The realm of meaning is rooted in social-historical as well as embodied evolutionary processes that go beyond computational algorithmically logic. The semantic network derives a decisive aspect of signification from a person&#39;s embodied cultural, which, in turn, derives from, develops, and has its roots in undefined tacit knowledge. To theoretically encompass both the computational and the semantic aspects of document classification and retrieval, we need to combine the cybernetic functionalistic approach with the semiotic pragmatic understanding of meaning as social and embodied. For such a marriage, it is necessary to go into the constructivistic second-order cybernetics and autopoiesis theory of von Foerster, Maturana, and Luhmann, on the one hand, and the pragmatic triadic semiotics of Peirce in the form of the embodied Biosemiotics, on the other hand. This combination is what I call Cybersemiotics.</p>