Effective knowledge transfer: a terminological perspective - Dismantling the jargon barrier to knowledge about computer security

  • Agnes M. Kukulska-Hulme

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The research is concerned with the terminological problems that computer users experience when they try to formulate their knowledge needs and attempt to access information contained in computer manuals or online help systems while building up their knowledge. This is the recognised but unresolved problem of communication between the specialist and the layman. The initial hypothesis was that computer users, through their knowledge of language, have some prior knowledge of the subdomain of computing they are trying to come to terms with, and that language can be a facilitating mechanism, or an obstacle, in the development of that knowledge. Related to this is the supposition that users have a conceptual apparatus based on both theoretical knowledge and experience of the world, and of several domains of special reference related to the environment in which they operate. The theoretical argument was developed by exploring the relationship between knowledge and language, and considering the efficacy of terms as agents of special subject knowledge representation. Having charted in a systematic way the territory of knowledge sources and types, we were able to establish that there are many aspects of knowledge which cannot be represented by terms. This submission is important, as it leads to the realisation that significant elements of knowledge are being disregarded in retrieval systems because they are normally expressed by language elements which do not enjoy the status of terms. Furthermore, we introduced the notion of `linguistic ease of retrieval' as a challenge to more conventional thinking which focuses on retrieval results.
Date of Award1993
Original languageEnglish


  • Effective knowledge transfer
  • computer security jargon

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