Encyclopedia of Multimedia

2008 Edition
| Editors: Borko Furht

Multimedia Semiotics

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-78414-4_149


Multimedia signals are artifacts intended to convey messages and, as such, they are a legitimate object of semiotic analysis.


Some care must be taken in semiotic analysis because, if it is legitimate to consider multimedia as a form of text, the peculiar characteristics of this text, and the intertwined reading modalities that it presents, impose the use of specific analysis instruments.

The first issue that presents itself is about the very nature of the multimedia sign: to put it in Piercean terms: is the multimedia sign an icon, an index, or a symbol? (See semiotics for a definition of these and other technical terms.) The complexity of the multimedia sign is revealed by the fact that it participates in all these natures: it is at one time an icon, an index, and a symbol.

The iconic status of the multimedia sign that, at a superficial analysis would appear the most obvious, is in reality quite complex and problematic. It won't do, in fact, to say that a...

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CaliforniaSan DiegoUSA