Sensemaking on the Pragmatic Web: A Hypermedia Discourse Perspective

Buckingham Shum, Simon (2006). Sensemaking on the Pragmatic Web: A Hypermedia Discourse Perspective. In: 1st International Pragmatic Web Conference, 21-22 Sep 2006, Stuttgart, Germany.


The complexity of the dilemmas we face on an organizational, societal and global scale forces us into sensemaking activity. We need tools for expressing and contesting perspectives flexible enough for real time use in meetings, structured enough to help manage longer term memory, and powerful enough to filter the complexity of extended deliberation and debate on an organizational or global scale. This has been the motivation for a programme of basic and applied action research into Hypermedia Discourse, which draws on research in hypertext, information visualization, argumentation, modelling, and meeting facilitation. This paper proposes that this strand of work shares a key principle behind the Pragmatic Web concept, namely, the need to take seriously diverse perspectives and the processes of meaning negotiation. Moreover, it is argued that the hypermedia discourse tools described instantiate this principle in practical tools which permit end-user control over modelling approaches in the absence of consensus.

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