Encyclopedia of Database Systems

2018 Edition
| Editors: Ling Liu, M. Tamer Özsu


  • Stefano LevialdiEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-8265-9_193


Image; Picture; Representation


Originally, the Greek word eikon stood for an image, carrying some meaning as in typical portraits of sacred persons within the Orthodox Church. An operational definition of icon was given by Peirce [1] as anything that stands for something else, to somebody, in some respect or capacity. Being so general, it covers most customary practices, typically linking linguistic, pictorial (or even auditory) expressions to a meaning that needs to be interpretedby a human. In general discourse, an icon may imply an idol (as a pop star) or a symbol (the Rotary wheel worn on coat lapels) that represents a group of persons or a life style (the Nike symbol for sports). Within Human-Computer Interaction, the common understanding of an icon is to consider it as a visual metaphor representing a file, a directory, a window, an option or a program. Whenever a number of icons are presented together, this group is referred to as an icon bar, generally at...

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Recommended Reading

  1. 1.
    Peirce CS. In: Hartshorne C, Weiss P editors. Collected papers of Charles Peirce, vol 1–8. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 1931–1958.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    de Saussure F. Introduction to the 2nd course on general linguistics (1908–1909), collected by Robert Godel, Raffaele Simone, editors. Italian ed. Rome: Ubaldini; 1970.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    de Souza CS. The semiotic engineering approach to human-computer interaction. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press; 2005.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sapienza University of RomeRomeItaly

Section editors and affiliations

  • Tiziana Catarci
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. di Ingegneria Informatica, Automatica e GestionaleUniversita di RomaRomaItaly