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“The qualities that make humans beings unique are the ability to use symbols and the ability to use tools, so it is not at all surprising that the discipline that concerns itself with the use of symbols as a tool is one that can subsume all other disciplines and encompass the entirety of humanity’s accomplishments.” — M. E. Hopper


Chinese Whispers aka Telephone Game: Kid

Chinese Whispers aka Telephone Game: Teen

Chinese Whispers aka Telephone Game: Adult

Play the Telephone Game (WikiHow)
Chinese Whispers (Wikipedia)


Communication System
Cosma provides access to extensive knowledge resources organized around these basic elements of a communication system: Media (channel), Knowledge (message), Human (sender/receiver) and Noise (interference). See also System and Outline (Site Map)

Communication Content

The “DIKW Hierarchy”, also known variously as the “Wisdom Hierarchy”, the “Knowledge Hierarchy”, the “Information Hierarchy”, and the “Knowledge Pyramid”, refers loosely to a class of models for representing structural and/or functional relationships between the communication of data, information, knowledge, and wisdom. — Wikipedia

Most writers about the hierarchy refer to this passage from T. S. Eliot’s The Rock.

Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? — T.S. Eliot, The Rock

Russell Ackoff popularized the hierarchy to categorize the content of communication.
From data to wisdom (Russell L. Ackoff, Journal of Applies Systems Analysis)
The wisdom of the world: Messages for the new millennium (Russell L. Ackoff, The Futurist)
On passing through 80 (Russell L. Ackoff, Systemic practice and action research)

See Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom

Other Related Subjects
Communication, transportation, information technology and commerce have also been inextricably intertwined since the beginning of human history, and they still remain closely related today.

“The success of the first electronic telegraph line in 1844 opened an era of modern communication in America. Before the telegraph there existed no separation between transportation and communication. Information traveled only as fast as the messenger who carried it.” — D. J. Czitrom, Media and the American Mind

This reality was even codified in the Dewey Decimal library classification system:
380 Commerce, communications, transportation

See Transportation, Information Technology and Commerce

Resources about Communication

These are organized by a classification scheme developed exclusively for Cosma. More…



Communication Resources Page (Cosma, You are here!)
Kurylo’s Communication Links Index
Communication Studies: Reference Resources (University of Michigan Library)


communication : a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior — Webster See also Oxford, OneLook, Free Dictionary, Wiktionary, InfoPlease, Word Reference, Urban Dictionary

A Dictionary of Media and Communication (Daniel Chandler and Rod Munday, Oxford University Press)


ASIS thesaurus of information science and librarianship (J. L. Milstead Ed., 1994)
Roget’s Thesaurus
Roget’s II (, Merriam-Webster Thesaurus, Visuwords


Communication is the activity of conveying meaningful information. Communication requires a sender, a message, and an intended recipient, although the receiver need not be present or aware of the sender’s intent to communicate at the time of communication; thus communication can occur across vast distances in time and space. Communication requires that the communicating parties share an area of communicative commonality. The communication process is complete once the receiver has understood the sender. — Wikipedia

International Encyclopedia of Communication Online (International Communication Association)
Encyclopedia of communication and information
Britannica, Columbia (Infoplease)


Introduction to Communication Studies (John Fiske)


Outline of Communication (Mary E. Hopper, Cosma)
Outline of Communication (Wikipedia)



Communication studies is an academic field that deals with processes of communication, commonly defined as the sharing of symbols over distances in space and time. Hence, communication studies encompasses a wide range of topics and contexts ranging from face-to-face conversation to speeches to mass media outlets such as television broadcasting. Communication studies, as a discipline, is also often interested in how audiences interpret information and the political, cultural, economic, and social dimensions of speech and language in context. — Wikipedia

Communication Studies: A Resource for Students, Professors, and Professionals (Communication
Communication Studies (Wikipedia)

Foundations: Defining Communication and Communication Study (Laura K. Hahn and Scott T. Paynton, Survey of Communication Study)


Communication theory is concerned with the making of meaning and the exchange of understanding. One model of communication considers it from the perspective of transmitting information from one person to another. In fact, many scholars of communication take this as a working definition, and use Lasswell’s maxim, “who says what to whom in which channel with what effect,” as a means of circumscribing the field of communication theory. — Wikipedia

Communication Presentation
Communication Models (Steve Kaminski)


Innovations Report


Communication sciences refers to the schools of scientific research of human communication. This perspective follows the logical positivist tradition of inquiry; most modern communication science falls into a tradition of post-positivism. Thus, communication scientists believe that there is an objective and independent reality that can be accessed through the method of scientific inquiry. Research conducted under this tradition is empirically based but can be both quantitative or qualitative. — Wikipedia





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Communication through the Ages Infographic (Atlassian)
The History of Communication through the Ages (Tim Lambert)
History of Communication (History World)
History of Communication (Wikipedia)
Timeline of Communication (History World)
History of Communication Timeline (
Timeline of Communication History (Brownville School District)


Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Communication
Charles Babbage Institute (CBI)
Museum of Broadcast Communications
Southwest Museum of Engineering, Communications and Computation
Transportation and Communication Maps (Library of Congress)
Caring for antique communication devices: phonographs, radios, etc. (Smithsonian)


MIT Communications Forum
Internet Archive
Library of Congress Finding Aids


Annenberg School for Communication Library (University of Pennsylvania)

WorldCat (OAIster) Library of Congress, UPenn Online Books, Open Library, World Digital Library (UNESCO & Library of Congress), Hathi Trust


Communication (Oxford Bibliographies)



K-12 Speaking, Listening, and Media Literacy Standards and Competency Statements (National Communication Association)


Knowledge systems 101: From Alexandria to Hitchhiker’s Guide (M. E. Hopper, 2000)
OER Commons: Open Educational Resources

Survey of Communication Study (Laura K. Hahn and Scott T. Paynton, Professor, Humboldt State University)
Communication Textbook (



Media and Communication Occupations ( Occupational Outlook Handbook)


Quotations Page Bartlett’s


International Communication Association
International Association for Media and Communication Research
World Communication Association
National Communication Association
American Communication Association


International Conference on Media & Communication Studies
Conference Alerts Worldwide (Conal)






NPR Archives
Google News

Journal of communication (Wiley)
Studies in Communication Sciences (Elsevier)


Communication and Mass Media Complete (EBSCOhost)
Communication Abstracts (EBSCOhost)
Google Scholar


Worlds of reference: Lexicography, learning and language from the clay tablet to the computer (T. McArthur, 1986)
Information technology and civilization (H. Inose & J. R. Pierce, 1984)
Making connections: Communication through the ages (C. T. Meadow, 2002)
Ink into bits: A web of converging media (C. T. Meadow, 1998)
Google Books, ISBNdb


Ladder of Citizen Participation (Sherry Arnstein)


Freedom of Expression (American Civil Liberties Union)
Freedom of Expression (Freedom House)


Should we call it expression or communication? (Paul Ekman)


Humor Improves Communication (Paul McGhee,
Using Humor (David Straker, Changing Minds)

The Postmmodernism Generator: Communications from Elsewhere
Contact Project: Experiment in deciphering a simulated message from another planet (Lunar Institute of Technology)


Communication arts encompasses the art of human communication in an ever-changing technological society. Communication arts broadly includes studies and professions that deal with graphic and visual design such as graphic design, graphic arts, art direction, corporate design and other areas. People who work in communication arts include photographers, illustrators, typographers and graphic designers. Fields in communication arts also include journalism, screenwriting, public speaking, digital video production, feature writing and even film and television studies. Some academic programs have course tracks strictly devoted to advertising or public relations, as well as electronic media. This field has its own professional publications including Communication Arts, a journal that caters to those in the communications fields, whether they work with print or online. —

Communication Arts Magazine (Official Site)
Communication Arts Magazine (Wikipedia)


OEDILF: The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form


Mark Zuckerberg says the future of communication is telepathy. Here’s how that would actually work (Caitlin Dewey, The Washington Post)



Journal of Communication (RSS)

  • Visual Expressions of Black Identity: African American and African Museum Websites
    This qualitative and quantitative content analysis examines 46 African and African American museum websites. Merelman's cultural projection concept serves as a foundation to explain the societal importance of Black cultural expression. The analysis reviews how the African- and African American-centric organizations communicate Black and organizational identities on their digital platforms. Described are images, sound, and visual dynamism. The findings add to the literature on counterstereotypes and digital cultural expression, linking visual communication research with intercultural communication and strategic communication.
    Melissa A. Johnson, Keon M. Pettiway
  • Social Media and Citizen Participation in “Official” and “Unofficial” Electoral Promotion: A Structural Analysis of the 2016 Bernie Sanders Digital Campaign
    Drawing on interviews with leaders of the effort to promote the 2016 Bernie Sanders U.S. presidential candidacy on social media, this study contrasts the structure and content of various organizational networks to map the hybrid ecosystem of the contemporary digital campaign. While the “official” Sanders organization built applications to transform supporters into a tightly controlled distribution network for its social media messaging, this was complemented by “unofficial” grassroots networks that circulated more informal and culturally oriented appeals. The latter are classified according to the models of organizationally enabled and self-organized connective action in digital social movements, with structural differences in oversight and moderation that suggest varying levels of creative autonomy for citizens and reputational risk for the associated campaigns.
    Joel Penney
  • A Meta-Analysis of Uncertainty and Information Management in Illness Contexts
    This study meta-analyzes 32 studies that examined uncertainty's effects on anxiety and information management within a variety of illness contexts (e.g., cancer, sexually transmitted disease, heart disease). Results indicate that the direction and magnitude of uncertainty's effects vary for different information management strategies. Illness uncertainty is strongly, positively associated with anxiety and avoidance. In contrast, the average effect of uncertainty on information seeking is nonsignificant, but the association does vary depending on uncertainty conceptualization and age. Implications for understanding the nature of illness uncertainty and for communicative efforts designed to facilitate uncertainty management in illness contexts are discussed.
    Kai Kuang, Steven R. Wilson
  • Television and the Cultivation of Authoritarianism: A Return Visit From an Unexpected Friend
    The 2016 Presidential election brought a surprise: the rise of Donald Trump as a viable candidate for the Republican nomination. What started as a seeming publicity stunt morphed into something more. Trump raised fears of authoritarianism—and even fascism—that were thought to be mostly confined to other countries. This study uses a national sample to examine television viewing's relationship to authoritarian values. We find that heavy viewers of television are more likely to be authoritarian, and that authoritarians are more likely to support Trump. We find an indirect relationship between amount of viewing and Trump support through authoritarianism. These findings have implications for current political debates as well as for media effects theory.
    Michael Morgan, James Shanahan
  • Protest Paradigm in Multimedia: Social Media Sharing of Coverage About the Crime of Ayotzinapa, Mexico
    In 2014 protests erupted around the world after 43 college students from Ayotzinapa, Mexico, were kidnapped and massacred. This bilingual, cross-national content analysis explores the relationship between multimedia features in stories about the Ayotzinapa protests and how social media users liked, shared, and commented on that coverage. This study furthers our understanding of the protest paradigm in a digital context, and sheds light on differences in mainstream, alternative, and online media outlets' coverage of protesters. Additionally, this study suggests social media users might prefer more legitimizing coverage of protesters than mainstream media typically offer.
    Summer Harlow, Ramón Salaverría, Danielle K. Kilgo, Víctor García-Perdomo
  • Understanding Why Scholars Hold Different Views on the Influences of Video Games on Public Health
    Despite decades of research, no scholarly consensus has been achieved regarding the potential impact of video games on youth aggression or other public health concerns. In recent years, hypotheses have been raised that scholarly opinions on video games may resemble past moral panics, with attitudes reflective of generational conflicts. These hypotheses are tested in a sample of 175 criminologists, psychologists, and media scholars, examining both overall negative attitudes about video games and perceived linkages with youth assaults specifically. Results reflected continued lack of scholarly consensus on the issue of video game influences with only 15.3% of scholars endorsing the view that violent video games contribute to youth assaults. As hypothesized, older scholars endorsed more negative views of video games generally, although this appeared to be related to experience with games rather than age per se. Scholars with more negative attitudes toward youth themselves were also more negative about games. Criminologists and media scholars were more skeptical of violent video games contributing to youth assaults than were psychologists. These results are discussed in relation to Moral Panic Theory.
    Christopher J. Ferguson, John Colwell
  • Hospitability: The Communicative Architecture of Humanitarian Securitization at Europe's Borders
    This paper explores the communicative architecture of reception at the peak of Europe's 2015–2016 “migration crisis.” Drawing on fieldwork at one of Europe's outer borders—the Greek island of Chios—the paper examines the border as a site where refugee and migrant reception takes place and where the parameters of Europe's ethico-political response to the “crisis” are set. The paper demonstrates that the continent's double requirement of security and care produces a new and highly ambivalent moral order, hospitability. Constituted through techno-symbolic networks of mediation, hospitability reaffirms dominant theorizations of the border as an order of power and exclusion but goes beyond these in highlighting micro-connections of solidarity that simultaneously coexist with and attempt to challenge this order.
    Lilie Chouliaraki, Myria Georgiou
  • You Brought it on Yourself: The Joint Effects of Message Type, Stigma, and Responsibility Attribution on Attitudes Toward Medical Cannabis
    This study uses a web-based randomized experiment (N = 396) to test the effects of message type (narrative vs. expository), stigma (stigmatized vs. nonstigmatized illness), and attribution of responsibility for disease (internal vs. external) on attitudes toward medical cannabis. Narrative-formatted videos produced more favorable attitudes toward medical cannabis, compared with nonnarrative videos. Effects of narratives on attitudes were mediated through transportation and identification with the protagonist. Participants who viewed narratives in which the protagonist had a stigmatized illness and was responsible for contracting the disease expressed more negative attitudes toward medical cannabis. Effects of attribution were mediated through social distance toward medical cannabis users, and moderated by stigma. Implications for narrative persuasion and public opinion regarding medical cannabis are discussed.
    Nehama Lewis, Sharon R. Sznitman
  • Comparative Optimism About Privacy Risks on Facebook
    Comparatively optimistic people feel that they are less susceptible to risks than are others. This study investigated predictors and outcomes of comparative optimism about privacy risks on Facebook. Results from a nationally representative survey of adult U.S. Facebook users (N = 1,156) show that users exhibit comparative optimism in believing that they are less susceptible to privacy risks than are average users. However, unlike prior findings in offline contexts, this study finds that comparatively optimistic Facebook users do not appear to engage in riskier privacy behaviors. The findings of this study shed light on how privacy decision-making may be different in social networking contexts compared to other contexts due to the networked nature of the communication platform.
    Miriam J. Metzger, Jennifer Jiyoung Suh
  • Partisan Selective Sharing: The Biased Diffusion of Fact-Checking Messages on Social Media
    Using large Twitter datasets collected during the 2012 U.S. presidential election, we examined how partisanship shapes patterns of sharing and commenting on candidate fact-check rulings. Our results indicate that partisans selectively share fact-checking messages that cheerlead their own candidate and denigrate the opposing party's candidate, resulting in an ideologically narrow flow of fact checks to their followers. We also find evidence of hostile media perception in users' public accusations of bias on the part of fact-checking organizations. Additionally, Republicans showed stronger outgroup negativity and hostility toward fact checkers than Democrats. These findings help us understand “selective sharing” as a complementary process to selective exposure, as well as identifying asymmetries between partisans in their sharing practices.
    Jieun Shin, Kjerstin Thorson
  • Dynamic Spirals Put to Test: An Agent-Based Model of Reinforcing Spirals Between Selective Exposure, Interpersonal Networks, and Attitude Polarization
    Within the context of partisan selective exposure and attitude polarization, this study investigates a mutually reinforcing spiral model, aiming to clarify mechanisms and boundary conditions that affect spiral processes—interpersonal agreement and disagreement, and the ebb and flow of message receptions. Utilizing agent-based modeling (ABM) simulations, the study formally models endogenous dynamics of cumulative processes and its reciprocal effect of media choice behavior over extended periods of time. Our results suggest that interpersonal discussion networks, in conjunction with election contexts, condition the reciprocal effect of selective media exposure and its attitudinal consequences. Methodologically, results also highlight the analytical utility of computational social science approaches in overcoming the limitations of typical experimental and observations studies.
    Hyunjin Song, Hajo G. Boomgaarden
  • Reframing the Iraq War: Official Sources, Dramatic Events, and Changes in Media Framing
    This study examines how official sources and dramatic events influence media framing of political issues, assessing the claims of the indexing hypothesis and event-driven models. Through an analysis of the New York Times' coverage of the Iraq War in late 2005 and early 2006, this study compares coverage from before and after the bombing of a major Shi'ite shrine in Iraq. The analysis shows that journalists avoided the preferred frame of the White House while amplifying the preferred frame of the military. It also shows that the bombing spurred journalists to reframe the conflict. These findings challenge parts of the indexing hypothesis and support a more event-driven model of media framing.
    Isaac Speer
  • Erratum
  • Erratum
  • The Politics of Resentment: Rural Consciousness in Wisconsin and the Rise of Scott Walker
    Michael Schudson
  • Media, Persuasion and Propaganda (Media Topics EUP)
    Mark W. Beekman
  • Democracy's Detectives: The Economics of Investigative Journalism
    Mark Feldstein
  • Free Speech & Unfree News: The Paradox of Press Freedom in America
    Bonnie Brennen
  • Al Jazeera and the Global Media Landscape: The South is Talking Back
    Jaroslav Dvorak