Open text

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This article is about the semiotic analysis topic. For the company, see OpenText.
Not to be confused with OpenDocument.

In semiotic analysis (the studies of signs or symbols), an open text is a text that allows multiple or mediated interpretation by the readers. In contrast, a closed text leads the reader to one intended interpretation.

The concept of the open text comes from Umberto Eco's collection of essays The Role of the Reader,[1] but it is also derivative of Roland Barthes's distinction between 'readerly' (lisible) and 'writerly' (scriptible) texts as set out in his 1968 essay, "The Death of the Author".[2]


  1. ^ Eco, U., 1984,The Role of the Reader: Explorations in the Semiotics of Texts, Indiana University Press, ISBN 0-253-20318-X
  2. ^ Barthes, R., 1977, 'The Death of the Author' in Image-Music-Text, Fontana

See also[edit]