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A structure for nontextual communications

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Part of the Nato Conference Series book series (HF,volume 13)


Communication is the production, transmission, and consumption of messages. Messages, discrete units of content, can be as simple as a wink or as complex as the Encyclopedia Britannica. To prepare ourselves to function effectively in this new era requires structuring communications. We begin by identifying and defining key terms. Whereas engineers know the precise meanings of the terms they use (such as torsion, moment, velocity, and so on) the terms communicators use are ambiguous. For example, communicators still argue about the meaning of the elementary term “writing”; a final decision must be made if it means the actual marks on the page which people read or an activity carried on by writers as they conceive content. Once the key terms are defined, they must be related using diagrammatic models. This paper provides a classification and description of various pictorial and linguistic communicative techniques.


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  • Shannon, C. E., & Weaver, W. The mathematical theory of communication. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1949.

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© 1980 Plenum Press, New York

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Doblin, J. (1980). A structure for nontextual communications. In: Kolers, P.A., Wrolstad, M.E., Bouma, H. (eds) Processing of Visible Language. Nato Conference Series, vol 13. Springer, Boston, MA.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Boston, MA

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-4684-1070-9

  • Online ISBN: 978-1-4684-1068-6

  • eBook Packages: Springer Book Archive