Metaphors and Communities

Metaphors in communities

Metaphors represent our way of thinking about speci c concepts. In the context of DE this aspect is of high relevance. Understanding metaphorical mapping would help to prevent misunderstanding at di erent levels: interpersonal, organisational, scientific and cultural. 

  • OPAALS questionnaire

We gained the first insights into concepts and their metaphorical use by means of the OPAALS questionnaire, a long-term study in which the OPAALS consortium  prticipated. The participants were asked to provide their associations to several  concepts that are of relevance in the research on DE: knowledge, network,  language, digital ecosystem, community, collaboration. A qualitative analysis of the information submitted in three questionnaire waves showed two main concepts that are used metaphorically depending on the domain of research. These concepts are "Digital Ecosystem (DE)" and "Network".


  • OPAALS text corpus

The collection was analysed with the TermExtractor tool. Qualitative analysis has shown that the majority of terms and concepts was used metaphorically. Furthermore, our analysis proved that the metaphorical use of  the same concepts varies depending on di fferent research domains, such as the terms "network" and "identity". A variety of multi-word terms extracted from OPAALS data are metaphors in its nature (e.g. Digital Ecosystem, community network, social network).