Social Tagging Online Communication and Peircean Semiotics

author: Andrea Wei-Ching Huang and Tyng-Ruey Chuang
publication date: 2009
cite this with: Andrea Wei-Ching Huang and Tyng-Ruey Chuang. Social Tagging, Online Communication, and Peircean Semiotics: A Conceptual Framework. Journal of Information Science, volume 35, number 3, pages 340-357, June 2009. DOI: 2009.
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copyright: This paper has been accepted for publication in Journal of Information Science and the final (edited, revised and typeset) version of this paper will be published in Journal of Information Science by SAGE Publications Ltd, All rights reserved. © CILIP. For more information please visit:
category: Semiotics and Information Science
tag: categorization, C.S. Peirce, interpretation, online communication, semiotics, social tagging, ten classes of signs, triadic sign, users
full paper: post-print/ Presentation/ JIS/DOI:


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.


papers:jis-sem08:home Last modified: 2009/06/16 12:36