Niels Erik Wille


My research interests are rather widespread. The range is demonstrated in detail in my list of publications etc. while the following is an attempt at a concise summary.

Performance Theory

This is a new field: Background research for the programme in Peformance Design established at Roskilde University in 2004. While drawing heavily on theory of Drama, Music and other Performings Arts, it also provides new applications for theory and methods in Aesthetics, Linguistics, Semiotics, Rhteorics, Literary Studies, Visual Communication and Interactive Media.

For the time being I tends to concentrate on a critical discussion of theory, concepts and terminology in Performance Theory, supplemented with copyright issues in performance works and the performance of such works. (Se also below.)

Linguistics. Pragmatics

The main focus of my research activities has been Modern Danish with special regard to the role of language in written communication. The theoretical and methodological point of departure is studies of Language Use or Pragmatics ("Discourse Analysis" in one of its senses).

I was active in introducing Pragmatics in Denmark in the last half of the 60'es, establishing a special Danish tradition concerned with critical analysis of written communication and the printed media, inspired by the late professor Paul Didrichsen and his pupils.

I have worked mainly with texts aiming at factual information ("faglig formidling"), especially the texts of public authorities when addressing lay audiences, and legal and administrative discourse.

General theories of language and verbal communication, Rhetorics and Argumentation are also within my sphere of research interests.

Publications: A2. Language and Verbal Communication

Literary Studies

I have worked with some subjects that are normally regarded as part of the study of Literature: Metrics and verse, especially modern "Free Verse". Narrative theory. Textual analysis and interpretation. Popular literature. Science Fiction and Fantasy.

My approach to these subjects are highly coloured by my linguistic background: I see Fiction and Poetry as a special case of verbal communication. To this I add an interest in the uses that "ordinary people" make of literature and literacy, and the way they understand the texts that they prefer.

I do not, though, regard myself as a Literary Scholar ("litteraturforsker") in the normal sense.

Publications: A4. Skønlitteratur

Communication and the Media

My research activities in this broad area range from general theories of communication, signs and the media, to detailed studies of a few types of media mainly based on written (printed) text and visual illustrations ("lexivisual media"): Printed media (books, journals and magazines, brochures and leaflets), exhibitions, and computer based media (CD-ROM multimedia presentations, hypertext and net media (World Wide Web)).

I have been increasingly concerned with the interplay of printed media and digital media, and the tendencies towards large scale "migration" from other media forms to digital media. My main interest in this area is again the use of digital media for factual information to various audiences ("faglig formidling").

Publications: A3. Media and "Faglig Formidling"

Libraries and Information Systems

For many years I have had an interest in libraries and the information systems they typically use, such as catalogues and bibliographic registers. I see public libraries as well as academic and special libraries very much as important channels for "faglig formidling", mirrored in advanced systems for classification and indexing of document content.

For 10 years, working as a senior civil servant in the National Library Authority, I have had the chance to pursue this area of interest more in depth. I worked mainly with the use of new information technology in the libraries, the role of libraries in the national information policy, and the impact of electronic media. I was also the Project Manager of an EU supported project on conversion of older card catalogues into modern computer based catalogues (The FACIT Project).

Publications: A6. Libraries and Library Related Information Systems


Since the last half of the 70'es I have been involved with issues of Danish and international copyright, first as a member of the Copyright Committee (UBVA) of the Danish Academic Union Congress (AC), and then as member of the Government Committee on the Revision of the Copyright Act (1986-1990). I have also had the role of "Copyright Expert" at the National Library Authority.

This has naturally lead to studies of copyright aspects of communication and the media, partly from the point of view of libraries, partly from the point of view of professional communicators. The main focus has been on copyright issues of electronic (digital) media.

Publications: A7. Copyright. Public Lending Rights. Legal Deposit

Public Administration and Management

As a by-product of my other research interests and my practical involvement with various types of public administration, I have done some research into Public Administration and modern theories of Management. This includes a major R&D effort with administrative information systems and document archiving.

Publications: A8. Administration and Management

Last revised 06.09.2007.