Research on hypertext semantics, emphasizing the role of the hypertext medium as artifact, technology, and system of cultural practices in the strategies for creating meaning relationships within and especially between textual and hypermedia object or units in hypertext webs. A first presentation on this work was made at the International Congress of Systemic Functional Linguistics, Cardiff, Wales, U.K. in July 1998. Abstract. Presentation and notes now available in Hypertext TextWeb. More recent presentations were made at the 2001 Congress at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. A first publication of this work will appear in the new journal Visual Communication.
Analysis of visual and textual relationships in multimedia websites; longterm project. A closely related project is the analysis of the semiotics of multimodal texts generally. See Multimedia Semiotics and the "NASA" project.
Future work will look particularly at scientific and technical communication on websites, usability studies and the website design process, and other online hypermedia.
B. Semiotics in the Dynamics of Multi-scale Systems and Networks
Theoretical work on the role of semiotics and informational transformations in the dynamics of complex, self-organizing systems. Proposes that systems of interest produce emergent levels of organization with characteristic dynamical timescales that are intermediate between those of pre-existing levels and do so typically by transforming lower level continuous variation into higher level discrete variants and vice versa in an alternating pattern across scales of organization.
New work in this area examines the role of semiotic artifacts, including the legible human body, in linking social practices and processes at radically different timescales (semiotic heterochrony). A further development of the model considers how meanings are made at different timescales along our traversals across institutions and sites. See Traversal Theory under New Additions.
See also Multiple Timescale Analysis.
Continuing work on the general principles of the dynamics and evolution of ecosocial systems (see Textual Politics, chapter 6). New directions include analysis of how semiotic artifacts permit direct interaction between processes on radically different space and time scales (see Aarhus paper, in press), and discussions of the evolution of ecosocial systems from less complexly self-coupled precursor ecosystems (first presentation at WESS conference, 1998. Abstract. Details available in WESS Textweb.) See also under B above. Another aspect of this work deals with the role of multiple time-scales and heterochrony in the analysis of ecosocial systems and complex self-organizing systems generally; details in Time Textweb. See also applications of the model to conceptualizing identity development (MCA paper).
New work aims at assessing the feasibility of using computationally-based multi-level multi-agent modeling software to simulate qualitative features of social-ecological systems, such as school districts and their communities, undergoing processes of change across multiple timescales.
See also Multiple Timescale Analysis.
Research into the use of websites, listserv groups bulletin boards, synchonous chat, email, and other resources in "flexible delivery" models for online education, including for both local and remote "distance education" students. See Meta-Media paper for initial perspectives, and also links to earlier papers in this area. Analysis of NASA websites, new paper.
Continuing research on semantic resources for constructing evaluative and orientational stances toward textual content, interlocutors, and heteroglossic voices. A first study of resources and strategies of evaluative-orientational textuality in newspaper editorials is in press in Functions of Language (Editorials paper). A second study extending this work to visual semiotic resources and their combination with verbal resources in political cartoons has been completed in a first stage and presented at ISFC Toronto (Abstract, 1997), University of Vienna (1997), and University of Ottawa (1998). A written version is not yet available, but preliminary notes and analysis are available. (Cartoons Notes).
Slowly developing work on the gendered character of scientific-technical and academic discourse formations, identifying their role in supporting traditionally masculine identities for practitioners. See Science & Masculinism paper (presented at the University of Delaware, 1991) and Abstract and TextWeb for ISCRAT Congress, Aarhus, Denmark, 1998.
Further extensions of this work will be concerned with analyzing the unity of gender, class, age, sexual orientation, and cultural subcategorization systems in hegemonic culture, and deconstructing the ideologies that are based on separate uni-dimensional, and often dichotomous models. See Textual Politics, chapter 5.
This work, which began with my studies of multimedia semiotics in scientific print publications (full HTML version with Figures), was based on noticing the role of mathematics as a bridge between the more categorially based or 'typological' strategies of linguistic meaning-making and the more 'topological' forms of meaning-by-degree in visual representations of quantitative and spatial relationships. I made use of this notion in my analysis of visual and verbal communication in medical diagnostic discourse in a clinical education group (PBL paper).
A fuller exposition has been written for a volume on the contributions of semiotic perspectives to mathematics education (Manuscript). There is also some discussion of this work in the last section of my paper for a conference on science education (Barcelona, October 1998). There will be a continuing elaboration of these themes in a textweb built around my WESS presentation.