Digital Life research site

In 2007 I started my PhD study at the Leeds Metropolitan University. This site wants to reflect topics and results of my research project.
My faculty Innovation North at Leeds Met is situated at Headingley campus.

My major research topics are listed below and can be studied in detail following the links provided in the sidebar. The content will be updated continuously:

  • Avatar identity and life cycle in synthetic worlds
  • ePortfolio and digital identity
  • Ethnography and information design

Prime research project: 'Avatar Narratives: Identity and Social Mobility in Synthetic Worlds'

Introduction:
With the extension of available computer networks, mankind has developed gradually two spheres of today’s social life: the real world and the steadily-growing virtual worlds. ‘Virtual world’ is actually the most used term for a cultural phenomenon that is sometimes also called ‘MMOG’ (massively multiplayer online game), ‘MMORPG’ (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) or ‘synthetic world’.
Whereas we are represented in the real world with our physical body, we are in need of a digital representation in synthetic worlds. Such representations are called avatars. The options to design your own avatar may vary from one synthetic world to another, but in general avatars are 3-dimensional, interactive and controlled by the user via an interface.
As avatars represent us in such environments, they occupy an interesting position in an increasing cultural, social, political and economical environment. Populations of single MMOGs like World of Warcraft are bigger than states like Austria (around 8 Mio), and the GNP per capita of MMOG Norrath is somewhere between Bulgaria and Russia. The social and economical importance of synthetic worlds may increase dramatically as currently isolated MMOGs will be connected in the coming years to a synthetic world-metaverse: avatars could cross the boundaries of their original MMOG without losing or changing their identity.

The general aim of this research study is to clarify social mechanisms in synthetic worlds regarding identity crafting. Avatar identity is seen as the core of any future theory about social mobility in synthetic worlds and should provide a better understanding of social activities in such environments.

Main research questions:

  • Role of narratives in creating an avatar identity
  • Contribution of social networks to build an avatar identity
  • Role of avatar identity for social mobility in synthetic worlds
  • Tools to store and develop an avatar identity for a 3D metaverse