The Notion of “Meaning System” and its use for “Semantic Search”

Lin Liu, Junkang Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mingers [16] suggests a notion of ‘meaning system’ in order to clarify the relationships between data (signs), information and meaning, and their bearings on information systems (IS for short). We observe that there are a few important points that need further investigation, which are centred on the basic notions of information and meaning. In this paper, we summarise the most seemingly influential studies on these two concepts in the field of information systems especially Dretske’s semantic theory of information. Then we take a close look at the notion of ‘meaning system’ by drawing on Dretske [8] and Devlin [6] in addition to Mingers [16]. We conclude that the term of ‘meaning system’ may be seen referring to an overall system whose elementary components are the cognitive systems whereby an human agent generates meaning in responding to stimuli, and it is through such a system an human agent interacts with the world including other humans in which he/she is, which includes crucially access to and subsequently creating information. We explore how this notion may be applied to IS problems by formulating one’s meaning system using an ontology language in order to improve web searching.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-126
JournalJournal of Computations & Modelling
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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