The Purpose and Definition of ‘Text’ in context of this Symposium:


Purpose of Text


The purpose of text can be broken down into layers of time and people:


  • To create a visual, permanently or temporarily durable record of information, such as a transaction, recipe, directions, thoughts and so on.
  • To allow temporally displaced (at arbitrary points the future future) reading of the recorded information for verification for original authors or for information for new readers.
  • To allow synchronous reading to allow for two (or more) person communication at a distance.
  • To allow for reading at time of writing by author(s) to augment the short term and long-term memories of the author to reach more complex understanding and reach more thoughtful decisions.



Definition of Text


  • A visual notation which does not show a picture but which requires a person to know how to ‘read’ it
  • Composed of elements (characters) which can be combined to create different logical units of words.
  • The words are mostly based on sound but this can be lost and the words still have meaning, such as lost languages which can be interpreted through something like the Rosetta Stone and contemporary words such as acronyms.
  • The relationship to the words to sounds are not in a one-to one relationship and often will shift over time.
  • Sentences which have a grammar (logical order) which uses the elements to communicate richer meaning than any single element can.
  • The visual style (typeface) provides context which modifies the inherent meaning of the words.
  • The layout  on the substrate provides context which modifies the inherent meaning of the words.




The Future of Text Symposium is a Deep Literacy Initiative