Introductory Editorial

Peter G. Marteinson

University of Waterloo
On behalf of the Editors

It was five years ago today that Applied Semiotics/ Sémiotique appliquée was conceived and first created. Dr. Pascal Michelucci and I, after speaking with our first Webmaster, Dr. Ron Davis, and our very supportive Department Head, Dr. Paul Perron, spent the first few weeks of December inviting world-wide experts whom we thought might receive our new idea positively to join our Advisory Board. To our delight and great surprise, we received over forty acceptance letters almost immediately, and only two experts declined, one being Umberto Eco, who was already a member of several such panels, and Linda Hutcheon, who was busy with more than one new book. We did not know, at that time, that this first Internet-based humanities review would earn such widespread appreciation and acclaim, or that we would attract articles from world leaders in the many fields that relate directly or indirectly to semiotics.

So, in celebration of our Fifth Anniversary, we are pleased to release the Tenth Issue of our literary journal, with some of the innovations and modifications you, our readers, have been suggesting. As some of you may know, the reason we have tended to avoid "full" or "flashy" exploitation of the very latest fads in multimedia and web technology is, quite simply, that we are not all that interested in bells and whistles, but rather, in full accessibility around the world, even in less developed regions. Since our inception, however, World Wide Web technology has progressed to the point where this is no longer such a great concern. Bandwidth has grown steadily, and more and more widely-accepted standards are breaking down barriers to accessibility.

Therefore, we are pleased to announce that you may look for somewhat more high-end html, java and graphics technology in the future. For the time being, we have ended our nevertheless successful "page by page" format, designed to allow slower-access users in remote areas to read the journal bit by bit, in favour of a "whole article" web file. Readers will notice on examining our Issue Title Page, that now the title of each article is a link, just as the page number always was, and that both lead directly to a file containing the entire article in question.

Readers who know us well will also recall that our mission is, primarily, to provide an open and democratic forum for scholarly research in areas of our interest. This means, of course, not only that we are willing to consider material other well-established journals may not be comfortable with, but also, that we are willing to question the foundations of semiotics more freely, from time to time, than most other scholarly publications. In particular, we feel that semiotics has much to gain from a certain "distancing" from linguistics-related stances in favour of more anthropological, psychological and phenomenological approaches.

Our current issue is, we hope, a further step in this direction: by encouraging, in some small way, more discussion of the epistemological foundations of our discipline of research, we hope, ultimately, to play some part in advancing the field away from its current "egocentric" focus; after all, how much semiotics research does one see that is not, in a sense, a study of semiotics itself, rather than a study of communication?

Given the methodology of the articles we offer in this issue, I feel no further introductory remarks are necessary: epistemological examinations are, by nature, fundamental, and therefore clearer and more self-explanatory than many other kinds of research. Therefore, enjoy! And thank you for visiting us once again.

Peter Marteinson, December 2000


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AS/SA Nº 10, Editorial

© 2000, Applied Semiotics / Sémiotique appliquée

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