Structuring Discourse for Collective Interpretation
This paper reflects on three examples of a discourse-oriented approach to supporting collective interpretation. By this, we mean activities involving two or more people who are trying to make sense of an issue. The common theme linking the examples is that each mediates interpretive activity via a software environment which structures discourse: participants construct their interpretation within a representational framework which in return provides computational services. As a by-product, this persistent trace of the sensemaking process can serve as a collective memory resource for subsequent reinterpretation. Based on the three examples, we draw attention to specific challenges that discourse-structuring technologies raise, and strategies for tackling them. A generic issue emerging from this work is the design of ontologies (representational schemes) by and for communities of practice.