Saturday, February 9, 2008

2nd IEEE International Conference on Digital Games and Intelligent Toys Based Education (DIGITEL 2008)

2nd IEEE International Conference on Digital Games and Intelligent Toys Based Education (DIGITEL 2008)


November 17-19, 2008, Banff, Canada

** Sponsored by IEEE Technical Committee on Learning Technology

The Conference Proceedings will be published by the IEEE Computer Society Press.

** Important dates:
Submissions due: May 30, 2008
Decision notification: August 1, 2008
Final articles due: September 12, 2008
Conference: November 17-19, 2008

There is a rapidly growing interest in exploring design and technology of digital games and intelligent toys for learning. While digital games, especially online games, exploit advanced multimedia and Internet technology, intelligent toys embedded with chips and sensors utilize wireless, mobile, and ubiquitous computing technologies. Digital games and intelligent toys are potential new genres of advanced learning technology.

The gaming strategies and toy design that incorporate both individual and social activities will offer a significant opportunity for researchers to investigate the long-running research issues of technology enhanced learning such as attention, motivation, and emotion. It will not be a surprise that in the distant future when this emerging research is proved to be fruitful, most technology enhanced learning will incorporate some elements of digital games. Despite the surging interest in this emerging research, there are plenty challenging research issues to be investigated. For example, can one really learn meaningfully and deeply from games? Will there be new theories that explain phenomena of learning with fun? What constitute game pedagogies? How this genre of technology enhanced learning can be adopted to formal and informal learning settings? What are the possible dark sides of game and toyed education and how to prevent them? DIGITEL 2008 provides a forum for researchers various disciplines and practitioners to share and exchange of this emerging research area.

We invite submission of papers reporting original academic or industrial research on the issues related to digital games and toyes based education.

Topics of interest
The topics of interest include but are not limited to:

- Foundation and theory for design

- Evaluation

- Case studies and exemplars

- Artificial intelligence

- Virtual characters

- Vitual storytelling and game narrative

- Multiplayer and social game design

- Simulation and animation

- Entertainment Robots for Education

- Augmented/Mixed Reality

- Interfaces

- Training

- Sport

- Non-Visual Senses (smelling, touching, hearing)

- Mobile games and its linking to online games

- Location-based games and ubiquitous technology

- Identity in gaming to learn: roles and role-playing

- Optimal experience and flow

- Engagement and emotion

- Collaboration, competition and community

- Social and Cultural aspects

Complete papers will be required for review process; only abstracts will not be sufficient.

All authors of accepted submissions will be required to complete IEEE Copyright Form. Authors of selected papers will be invited to submit extended versions for a Special Issue of a reputed journal.

** Submissions
Submissions are invited in following categories:
Full papers: 8 pages
Short papers: 5 pages
Posters: 3 pages
Workshop proposals: 2 pages
Panel proposals: 2 pages
Interactive sessions: 3 pages

** For more details, please see the website:

* Conference Chair
Margaret haughey, Athabasca University, Canada

* Program Chair:
Michael Eisenberg, University of Colorado, Boulder, USA

* Local Chair
Maiga Chang, Athabasca University, Canada

* General Chair
Kinshuk, Athabasca University, Canada

* General Co-Chair
Tak-Wai Chan, National Central University, Taiwan

* Organization Chair:
Rory McGreal, Athabasca University, Canada

* Local Administrator
Jill Calliou, Athabasca University, Canada

* Finance Chair
Rebecca Heartt, Athabasca University, Canada

** For queries, please contact:

Kinshuk (
Jill Calliou (

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The dangers of `locking down' the Internet

As digital technologies and the Internet began to emerge in the mid-1990s, many content companies responded by betting on the ability of technological protection measures to re-assert the control that was rapidly slipping from their grasp.

The vision of control through technology required considerable co-ordination – the insertion of encryption on content distributed to consumers, co-operation from electronics makers to respect the technological limitations within their products and new legal provisions to prohibit attempts to pick the new digital locks.

A decade later, the strategy lies in tatters. Many content owners have dropped digital locks after alienating disgruntled consumers fed up with their inability to freely use their personal property.

Electronics manufacturers have similarly rebelled, frustrated at the imposition of artificial limitations that constrain their products and profitability.

To top it off, the U.S architect of the legal strategy last year acknowledged that the legislative initiatives to support the digital lock approach have failed.

In recent months, a new strategy has begun to emerge. With the industry gradually admitting that locking down content does not work, it has now dangerously shifted toward locking down the Internet.

The Internet locks approach envisions requiring Internet service providers to install filtering and content monitoring technologies within their networks. ISPs would then become private network police, actively monitoring for content that might infringe copyright and stopping it from reaching subscribers' computers.

The support for locking down the Internet revives an old debate – the appropriate role and responsibility of ISPs for the activities that take place on their networks. As the content owners were promoting legal protection for digital locks in the 1990s, the ISPs were supporting legal frameworks that treated them as the equivalent of common carriers that transferred data across their networks without regard for the content itself.

While that approach ensured that ISPs did not take an active role in monitoring or filtering Internet-based activity, the recent move toward a two-tiered Internet – one in which the ISPs themselves dream of distinguishing between different content as a new revenue source – revived the notion that ISPs could be called upon to play a more active role in monitoring and blocking content.

With content owners frustrated at the failure of digital locks, last year they seized on this by renewing their focus on the role of the ISP. This movement has been most prominent in Europe, where last summer a Belgian court ordered an ISP to block access to a site alleged to contain copyright infringing materials.

More recently, French President Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled a plan that would mandate country-wide ISP filtering of copyright infringing content. Although a similar pan-European proposal was defeated earlier this month, few believe the issue is dead, particularly given the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry's claim last Thursday that 2008 will be the year of greater ISP responsibility.

Content filtering plans have also begun to emerge in North America. Large U.S. ISPs such as AT&T have inexplicably promised to develop new content filters on their networks and are discussing an implementation plan with content owners.

Could a similar content blocking approach wind its way north?

Late last week, the Canadian Recording Industry Association stated that it presently is not seeking provisions "related to content filtering or termination of repeat offenders."

That provides a measure of reassurance, yet some cultural groups are openly eyeing content filters as a mechanism to adapt Canadian content rules to the online environment, while others have expressed strong support for legal rules that force ISPs to accept heightened "responsibility" for the conduct of their subscribers.

In light of this pressure, some fear that mandatory content blocking could sneak into forthcoming legislation, despite the likelihood that such laws would face constitutional challenges and run the risk of tarring Canada as the home of a censored Internet.


Latest Test for DMCA Safe Harbors: Warner Sues SeeqPod

Warner Music Group has sued SeeqPod, a "Web 2.0" music search engine that has been gaining popularity in recent months. This is the latest in a string of lawsuits against Web 2.0 companies, like YouTube,, Veoh, PornoTube, and Divx/Stage 6. Together, the suits represent an attack by the entertainment industry on the DMCA safe harbors that protect hosting services and search engines from copyright claims.

As search engines become more specialized and capable, certain copyright owners have become increasingly dissatisfied with the notice-and-takedown bargain struck in the DMCA. That's what these lawsuits are really about -- the defendants are complying with the letter of the law,
but copyright owners are now trying to change the rules in court.

Of course, the SeeqPod case may settle, but the copyright issues will not be going away anytime soon.

For Warner Music Group's full complaint against SeeqPod:

For the complete post by EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred Von Lohmann:

MPAA's Error: College Students Aren't So Bad After All

When the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) began their campaign against piracy on college campuses, they waved a study that purported to show that 44% of the film
industry's losses were the direct result of illegal downloading and filesharing by college students on US campuses. The MPAA used that number to ramp up the pressure on Congress to pass legislation that would force colleges to eavesdrop on their networks and crack down on
filesharing on campus.

44% is a high number, and many were justifiably skeptical. Now, it seems the MPAA has been forced to admit that its numbers were not exactly accurate. After diligently re-checking its math, it has admitted that the 44% figure was really more like 15%. And because only 20% of college students live on campus, then campus networks are responsible for something like 3%.

These "restated" MPAA numbers suggest that the MPAA is targeting universities not because college kids are a serious threat to the movie industry's bottom line, but because the studios hope to set a precedent on campus that can be used to force filtering on larger commercial ISPs.
It's bad enough that the government is eavesdropping on our Internet activities without having Hollywood joining in!


Time Warner to Split AOL in Two

Time Warner plans to split its AOL unit into two divisions separately focused on Internet access and online services and advertising, executives announced during the company's Q4 earnings call today.

The company did not elaborate on its exact motives for the separation. One option, oft-discussed by executives and investors, would be to sell or spin off its access business at some future point. Time Warner may also feel the move will draw more attention to its considerable investment in online ad networks and services, including at least five acquisitions in the past year. Just this week, the company announced it has acquired affiliate marketing firm and widget technology provider Goowy to support its Platform A division.

During the earnings call, TW execs signaled AOL ad revenue for the current quarter will be flat or down, owing partly to a $19 billion accounting benefit in 2007 and partly to the cancellation of certain low-performing sponsorships. The unit expects growth to return in Q2 as the company integrates and benefits from its recent acquisitions.

"We would expect that AOL ad growth is going to improve by the end of the second quarter of this year," said CFO John Martin. "AOL is really focusing on building its leading display monetization platform. It's got scale, got the behavioral and contextual capabilities."

AOL's full-year 2007 revenues declined 33 percent ($2.6 billion) to $5.2 billion, and ad revenues increased 18 percent ($345 million) to $2.2 billion. Revenues for the quarter meanwhile declined 32 percent ($587 million) to $1.3 billion, while ad revenues grew 10 percent to $620 million.

"AOL has maintained a substantial base of profits. That's no small feat," said Jeffrey Bewkes, president and CEO of Time Warner. "At the same time... we've been actively reducing costs and redesigning AOL's historic business."

Google holds a 5 percent stake in AOL. Bewkes and Martin said that investment and Google's influence would not affect how Time Warner approaches the division of the business.

"It's not clear at all that they necessarily would want to act on it," said Bewkes. "And it's fine if they were to act on it. We probably shouldn't predict or discuss any ongoing talks."

During the quarter AOL had 109 million average monthly domestic unique visitors and 49 billion domestic page views, according to comScore Media Metrix.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Microsoft Unveils Video and Contextual Targeting Features

Microsoft yesterday unveiled new contextual analysis and ad targeting options for online video content. The video-based ad offerings are part of a flock of digital marketing innovations on display at the fourth annual adLabs Demo Fest at Microsoft's headquarters.

The Contextual Ads for Video offering uses speech recognition technology to translate the audio from online clips into text, which can then be matched to specific marketing offers. Another product, Intelligent Bug Ads, carefully places small clickable ad overlays within video streams.

Other technologies presented included Air Wave, which uses Microsoft's Surface touch screen technology for interactive ads in places like malls or amusement parks; Visual Product Browsing, a product matching tool that guides shoppers to products similar to what they've already viewed; and new gizmos to help marketers avoid unsuitable content and select search keywords based on user search and content behaviors.

"Online advertising has been centered around keywords for too long," said Tarek Najm, an engineer for Microsoft's advertising and business intelligence systems, adding the "next wave of advertising is going to use new algorithms and technologies" that display ads based on consumer intent.

One of Microsoft's demos featured a streaming episode of the Charlie Rose Show. The clip was run through a speech analysis algorithm that scanned the audio from the program and translated it into text. The text was then used to query against a database of keywords, thus displaying relevant ads in the right-hand column at precise times during the program. Other firms to promise similar capabilities have included Scanscout and Blinkx.

Microsoft said the mechanism can differentiate between speakers and even conversations, parse the context of what's being said, and use that data to further refine the ad placement.

Another demo depicted technology to flag and score Web pages based on traits that may offend brand advertisers or mention them in a critical context. Marketers might be tempted to use the feature to leverage a competitor's negative press, but James Colburn, a group marketing manager for adCenter, said that wouldn't be an issue.

"We wouldn't allow that to happen," he said. "We'll have rules that would prevent situations like that."

Microsoft's smart overlay ad technology puts it in the company of Google's YouTube, VideoEgg and other video ad networks, though the format has some important differences from those firms' offerings. It works by scanning a given video and displaying tiny clickable ads in the corner, top, or side of the frame. The innovation, Microsoft said yesterday, lies in making the bugs as unobtrusive as possible. A demo clip contained twenty seconds or so of unchanging blue sky above a racetrack with little or no movement. AdLab's algorithm automatically noted the lack of motion and gently faded an ad for Audi into the unused space. The ad disappeared when the camera changed, losing the sky.

Like the rest of the components, these ad bugs can combine with all the other technologies above, but the real question that nobody asked was whether or not there would be any way for them to fit in with the advances that Yahoo! has made. Though nobody said the name, Yahoo! was the elephant in the room.


Worlds of Work: Communication and Information Technologies - call for participation

"Worlds of Work: Communication and Information Technologies"



July 31, 2008
Boston, MA

Submission Deadline: March 1, 2008
Send Submissions to: CITASA2008@CITASA.ORG

Organized by the Communication and Information Technologies Section of the American Sociological Association (CITASA)

This one day event combines a pre-conference on information and communication technologies (ICTs) and "Worlds of Works," building on the theme of the 103rd annual meeting of the ASA, and a workshop for 20 selected graduate students researching any aspect of the sociology of communications or information technologies.

The program will include a keynote address by the winner of the "Microsoft CITASA Port 25 Award," a series of presentations on ICTs and the sociology of work, and a series of select student presentations of work-in-progress (on diverse themes within the sociological study of communications and IT) to both a general audience and to a mentor panel of well known and established researchers in the field.

Communication and information technologies are an important source of change in work today, affecting both the ways work is done on a day-to-day basis and the long term relations of labor and production. The different types of communication, markets, goods and services enabled by ICTs have allowed new work configurations to become prominent, even as they help to reshape existing ways of working.

These new configurations and changed practices are creating altogether different kinds of "worlds" in which work is done. Office work activities are increasingly becoming computer-mediated, allowing work to move from traditional settings to the home or to virtual environments. The use of ICTs allow the emergence of new organizational forms, ushering in an era of globally distributed work no longer as reliant on geographic co-location and moving some work processes out of firms and into "communities." New forms of industrial production that challenge many of the traditional ideas about work are becoming more common, open source software development being the primary example and providing serious challenges to the traditional sociology of work.

This pre-conference workshop will address these issues and others that lie at the intersection of sociology of work and the sociology of communication and information technology.

Submissions can be in the form of an abstract of 500 words OR a full paper of no more than 7,000 words. Any full paper accepted for presentation can be considered for inclusion in the annual CITASA special issue of the journal Information, Communication and Society (iCS).

Any research that lies at the intersection of sociology of work and ICT is welcome. Sociologist working outside of sociology departments and those with formal training in other disciplines who take a sociological approach are strongly encouraged to apply. Submissions are encouraged in the following specific areas:

- ICTs in the office

- ICTs and globalization of work

- Telework and distributed teams

- New "worlds" of work

- Online communities and work

- Software development and the sociology of work

- Open source and user-created content and sociology of work

- ICTs and research methods in the study of work

Submissions are encouraged from all areas related to the sociology of communication and information technologies (not exclusively the study of work). Submissions should be in the form of an abstract of 500 words OR a full paper of no more than 7,000 words. Any full paper accepted for presentation can be considered for inclusion in the annual CITASA special issue of the journal Information, Communication and Society (iCS).

Selected students will give a 15-20 minute presentation of their research to a mentor panel of well-known senior researchers. Each presentation will be followed by questions and discussion prompted by the panel and general audience.

Students will be chosen by the organizing committee with the intent of inviting students from diverse backgrounds, with diverse methods, working on a broad range of topic areas (not exclusively the study of work). Students actively preparing a dissertation proposal or working on thesis that has already been approved by your university are strongly urged to apply (students do not need to be in sociology departments to apply). A maximum of 20 students will be invited to participate and will receive a "Microsoft CITASA Port 25 Emerging Scholars Award" in the amount of $200 to help defray travel and accommodation.

Full papers submitted to the CITASA pre-conference and workshop can simultaneously be submitted to sessions of the regular ASA conference. Papers accepted for the CITASA pre-conference and workshop do not count against ASA limits on the number of papers an author can present at the regular meeting.

Authors will be notified by April 2.

MENTOR PANEL (more to come)
Paul DiMaggio, Princeton University
Barry Wellman, University of Toronto

Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sidney-Pacific Graduate Community Building 70 Pacific Street Cambridge, MA

Katie Bessiere, Carnegie Mellon University
Sarah Gatson, Texas A&M University
Keith N. Hampton, University of Pennsylvania
Steve Sawyer, The Pennsylvania State University
Yuri Takhteyev, University of California Berkeley
Jim Witte, Clemson University

The ASA Communication and Information Technologies Pre-Conference and Graduate Student Workshop is made possible thanks to the generous support of the Open Source Software Lab at Microsoft.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

New Book: HCI Remixed: Reflections on Works That Have Influenced the HCI Community

New Book: HCI Remixed: Reflections on Works That Have Influenced the HCI Community

What is a remix? In music, a remix is an edited version of a song that builds on the themes of the original while incorporating new elements. But anything can be remixed, and in HCI Remixed we asked contributors to reflect on a piece of work -- a paper, system or demo -- that is at least ten years old. We asked them to pick a piece of work that they were enthusiastic about, and to consider how it had changed their view of HCI and shaped their work. The result is a book of 51 short, engaging and idiosyncratic essays that take a positive and synthetic approach to the work, asking what it got right, and what, after ten years or more, still has value.

The essays cover a lot of ground. One considers Murial Cooper's contributions to dynamic typography, another the relationship between Cinderella and the Diffusion of Innovations, and another how a toy doll named Lily can transcend time and space to go Beyond Being There. The essayists of HCI Remixed explain how the Wizard of Oz was really John Gould, how both adults and children are willing to use felt and flannel and how "1 + 1 = 3" during user interface design. Taken together, the essays offer an accessible, lively, and engaging introduction to HCI research, illustrating where our community has been so that we can better understand where we are going.

Book Description
Over almost three decades, the field of human-computer interaction (HCI) has produced a rich and varied literature. Although the focus of attention today is naturally on new work, older contributions that played a role in shaping the trajectory and character of the field have much to tell us. The contributors to HCI Remixed were asked to reflect on a single work at least ten years old that influenced their approach to HCI. The result is this collection of fifty-one short, engaging, and idiosyncratic essays, reflections on a range of works in a variety of forms that chart the emergence of a new field.

An article, a demo, a book: any of these can solve a problem, demonstrate the usefulness of a new method, or prompt a shift in perspective. HCI Remixed offers us glimpses of how this comes about. The contributors consider such HCI classics as Sutherland's Sketchpad, Englebart's demo of NLS, and Fitts on Fitts' Law--and such forgotten gems as Pulfer's NRC Music Machine, and Galloway and Rabinowitz's Hole in Space. Others reflect on works somewhere in between classic and forgotten--Kidd's "The Marks Are on the Knowledge Worker," King Beach's "Becoming a Bartender," and others. Some contributors turn to works in neighboring disciplines--Henry Dreyfuss's book on industrial design, for example--and some range farther afield, to Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis and Jane Jacobs's The Death and Life of Great American Cities. Taken together, the essays offer an accessible, lively, and engaging introduction to HCI research that reflects the diversity of the field's beginnings.

About the Author
Thomas Erickson is Research Staff Member at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center. David W. McDonald is Assistant Professor at the Information School at the University of Washington, Seattle.



Transformative Works and Culture (TWC; a new Gold Open Access international peer-reviewed online journal, debuts today when its Web site goes live, ready to accept interdisciplinary articles on popular media and the fan communities and fan practices that surround them. In addition to articles, the journal will also invite concise, thematic essays for its symposium section and reviews of items of interest in the fields of fan and media studies, including books, new journals, and Web sites.

TWC’s Web site can be found at The journal’s inaugural
issue is slated for September 2008.

Transformative Works and Culture is being sponsored by the Organization for Transformative
Works (OTW), a nonprofit organization established by fans to serve the interests of the fan
community by providing access to, and preserving the history of, fan works and fan culture in its
many forms. OTW defines “transformative works” as creative works about characters or settings created by fans of the original work, rather than by the original creators. Such works include, but are not limited to, fan fiction, fan vids, mashups, and machinima.

Heading the journal’s editorial team are Kristina Busse and Karen Hellekson, who collaborated
previously as coeditors of Fan Fiction and Fan Communities in the Age of the Internet,
published in 2006 by McFarland. Joining them are symposium editors Cole J. Banning, Alexis
Lothian, and Julie Levin Russo, and review editors Deborah Kaplan, Mafalda Stasi, and Cynthia
W. Walker.

According to Hellekson, TWC is being established to provide a publishing outlet that welcomes
fan-related topics, and to promote dialogue between the academic community and the fan
community. “The journal,” she notes, “fits into OTW’s broader plan to create fan-run forums.
TWC is the academic space of that project.”

Hellekson also points out that one important aspect of the journal is its approach to copyright.
“The articles will be copyrighted under Creative Commons, which will permit the authors much
more flexibility in reuse. In addition, we are interested in close readings of fan texts, including
fan fiction, vids, and avatars and icons, and so we’ll permit quotation of primary media sources
as well as reproduction of transformed source material, such as altered screen caps.” TWC is
publishing under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License.

TWC’s editorial advisory board includes 32 international scholars well known in the fields of
media studies and cultural studies. Among them are Henry Jenkins, director of the Comparative
Media Studies Program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and author of
Convergence Culture; Nancy Baym, associate professor of communication studies at the
University of Kansas and author of Tune In, Log On: Soaps, Fandom, and Online Community;
Matt Hills, senior lecturer at Cardiff University and author of Fan Cultures; Judith Halberstam,
professor of English and gender studies at the University of Southern California (USC) and
author of In a Queer Time and Place: Transgender Bodies, Subcultural Lives; and Farah
Mendelsohn, features editor for the British academic science fiction journal Foundation and
coauthor (with Edward James) of The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction.

”One big part of creating a successful new journal in an underserved field is getting a stellar
advisory board,” says Hellekson. “We had an extraordinarily high rate of acceptances, which
confirmed our belief that there’s a demand for a journal in the field of fan studies, as opposed to
media studies or audience studies in general.”

As an online academic journal, observes Hellekson, TWC can provide immediate open access to
its content, thus making research freely available to the public and contributing to a greater
global exchange of knowledge. “Since our target authorship and readership are online, we want
to ensure the broadest possible dissemination of work in this field. Immediate online publication
best fits our ethos and our audience.”

Kristina Busse, Hellekson’s coeditor, has great hopes for the project. “TWC is an exciting step in
fan studies,” she says. “The journal will be directed toward fan studies specifically, which will
create a hub for theoretical and critical work that’s previously been dispersed. It’s also affiliated
with a fan organization even as it’s committed to solid scholarship, thus bridging some of the
fan/academic boundaries. And, finally, it’s committed to fair use all the way, taking a proactive
stance on academic media scholarship and its ability to cite the works we’re studying.”

Other scholars in the field are similarly enthusiastic. “TWC promises to be an amazing resource
for professional academics, amateur scholars and interested parties, journalists, students, fans,
industry folk, and any-and-all hybrids of the above,” says Matt Hills of Cardiff University, while
Henry Jenkins of MIT enthuses, “It’s a dream come true: an exciting chance to consolidate this
field and, at the same time, bridge the gap between fans and fan scholars.”

Continuity and Innovation: Contemporary Film Form and Film Criticism

Continuity and Innovation:
Contemporary Film Form and Film Criticism

Call for Papers

5th – 7th September 2008, University of Reading Film Conference

Contemporary film displays both its debt to the established forms and practices of narrative cinema, and to international developments in aesthetic practice and in new technologies that subtly shift the boundaries of cinema’s aural and visual field.

At the same time, contemporary film criticism negotiates a shifting relationship with its own histories and present – its histories of textual analysis and film theory, and its present landscape of concerns with identity, new delivery and reception contexts, digital remediation, and so on, explored against the backdrop of a volatile socio-historical moment.

This conference seeks to consider the critical challenges contemporary film form poses for us as film critics and theorists, in an approach rooted in the detail of the film text itself. In addition, the conference wishes to reflect and engage with the diversity of contemporary aesthetic choices and filmmaking practices. On the one hand, the conference will explore the continuities and innovations in contemporary film style, to move towards an account of contemporary cinema’s aesthetic practice and the ways in which these formal elements shape the production of meaning. On the other hand, the conference will provide an important opportunity to explore and extend
the continuities and innovations possible in contemporary film criticism.

Keynote speakers include Douglas Pye and Adrian Martin. In addition, film practitioners will be discussing their work.

We invite papers that attempt to meet these interpretative, analytical and critical challenges through direct engagement with contemporary films.

In addition to the familiar pattern of panel discussions and plenaries, the conference will include workshops in which speakers will present frameworks for analysis of the detail of a movie, as an introduction to discussion. Titles of films to be discussed at the conference will be circulated in advance.

Proposals for three kinds of presentation are invited:

• Close readings grounded in detailed analysis (20 minute papers).

• Discussion of historical, theoretical or critical issues related to the interpretation of contemporary film style (20 minute papers).

• Workshop introductions, designed to open up issues about a sequence (or sequences), as a prelude to extended debate (workshops will last 90 minutes).

The deadline for proposals is 1st April 2008.

Please send us your 200-word proposal and brief biography by email to:

Enquiries should be directed to the conference organisers Lisa Purse and John Gibbs at the same email address.

Visible Memories Conference - Call for Papers

Visible Memories Conference - Call for Papers

Syracuse University,

Oct. 2-4, 2008

Conference Theme:
The Visible Memories Conference at Syracuse University invites papers for competitive selection. The conference will explore the intersections between visual culture and memory studies with particular focus on the ways in which memories are manifested and experienced in visible, material, or spatial form.

Examples of especially relevant and desirable research topics include: local sites of memory; memorials and archives; environmentalism and representations of nature; regional, national, or global tourism; photography or cinema; digital media; and art installations. We also welcome other research topics in similarly innovative areas.

The Visible Memories Conference is presented by the Visual Arts and Cultures Cluster of The Central New York Humanities Corridor, made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The Corridor is a large-scale partnership with Syracuse University, Cornell University, and the University of Rochester that connects scholarship in five other cluster areas: philosophy, linguistics, religions and cultures, musicology/music history, and humanities at the interface of science/technology.

Conference Format: The conference will feature an innovative combination of events designed to facilitate conversation not only between a variety of researchers concerned with the study of visual culture and memory but also between academics and distinguished professionals in art and design, film production, and institutional archiving.

Featured events will include:

* A keynote lecture by conceptual artist Ernesto Pujol.

* Plenary speakers: Cara Finnegan (Speech Communication, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), Andrea Hammer (Landscape Architecture, Cornell University), George
Legrady (Media Arts and Technology and Art, University of California at Santa Barbara), Julia Meltzer (media artist), Phaedra Pezzullo (Communication and Culture, Indiana University), Gregory Sholette (Art and Art History, Queens College), David Thorne (media artist), Patricia Zimmermann (Cinema and Photography, Ithaca College).

* Competitive panel sessions.

* Research workshops and roundtables.

* A gallery reception and film/video screenings.

Submission Guidelines: Submit a paper abstract electronically (500 word maximum). Include a separate cover page with paper title; author name and affiliation; and contact information. Submissions should be addressed to Dr. Anne T. Demo (

Abstracts will be reviewed by the conference planning committee. Deadline for abstract submission is May 1, 2008. Acceptance notification will be sent by June 1, 2008.

Conference History:
Syracuse University has been heavily involved in the study of public memory and visual culture for the past seven years. The university has previously hosted two major interdisciplinary conferences devoted to the themes of "Framing Public Memory" (2001) and "Contesting Public Memories" (2005). These events have attracted national and international scholars from such disciplines as Anthropology, Rhetorical Studies, Philosophy, Writing, Geography, and Art. As a result of these efforts, the Syracuse University "Public Memory Project" has become a hub for collaboration among scholars from over a dozen departments and has hosted numerous individual scholars while supporting specific memory-related projects within the Syracuse community.

Travel and Accommodations: Syracuse University is located in the heart of Central New York, close to many major metropolitan areas (2.5 hours from Buffalo; 4 from Philadelphia; 4.1 from New York City; 5 from Boston; 5.4 from Pittsburgh). Conference participants may travel conveniently to Syracuse, NY, through Syracuse Hancock International Airport.

The conference will be held at the Renaissance Syracuse Hotel (315-479-7000; Other high-quality accommodations nearby include the Sheraton Syracuse (315-475-3000) and the Genesee Grande Hotel (315-476-4212).

See our conference website for further details:

Additional questions about the conference may be addressed to:

Dr. Anne T. Demo
Phone: 315-443-1032

Communication and Rhetorical Studies
100 Sims Hall, Building V
Syracuse University
Syracuse, New York 13244

New Book: Electronic Tribes - The Virtual Worlds of Geeks, Gamers, Shamans, and Scammers

New Book: Electronic Tribes - The Virtual Worlds of Geeks, Gamers, Shamans, and Scammers

Edited by:
Tyrone L. Adams, The University of Louisiana, Lafayette
Stephen A. Smith, The University of Arkansas

Book Description
Whether people want to play games and download music, engage in social networking and professional collaboration, or view pornography and incite terror, the Internet provides myriad opportunities for people who share common interests to find each other. The contributors to this book argue that these self-selected online groups are best understood as tribes, with many of the same ramifications, both positive and negative, that tribalism has in the non-cyber world.

In Electronic Tribes, the authors of sixteen competitively selected essays provide an up-to-the-minute look at the social uses and occasional abuses of online communication in the new media era. They explore many current Internet subcultures, including,, massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) such as World of Warcraft, music downloading, white supremacist and other counterculture groups, and Nigerian e-mail scams. Their research raises compelling questions and some remarkable answers about the real-life social consequences of participating in electronic tribes. Collectively, the contributors to this book capture a profound shift in the way people connect, as communities formed by geographical proximity are giving way to communities—both online and offline—formed around ideas.

Table of Contents
Foreword, Ronald E. Rice
Introduction: Where Is the Shaman? Jim Parker

Part I: Conceptualizing Electronic Tribes
Chapter 1. "A Tribe by Any Other Name . . . ," Tyrone L. Adams and Stephen A. Smith
Chapter 2. Mimetic Kinship: Theorizing Online "Tribalism," Veronica M. Davidov and Barbara Andersen
Chapter 3. Electronic Tribes (E-Tribes): Some Theoretical Perspectives and Implications, Bolanle Olaniran
Chapter 4. Revisiting the Impact of Tribalism on Civil Society: An Investigation of the Potential Benefits of Membership in an E-Tribe on Public Discourse, Christina Standerfer

Part II: Social Consequences of Electronic Tribalism
Chapter 5. Theorizing the E-Tribe on, David R. Dewberry
Chapter 6. Don't Date, Craftsterbate: Dialogue and Resistance on, Terri L. Russ
Chapter 7. Guild Life in the World of Warcraft: Online Gaming Tribalism, Thomas Brignall III
Chapter 8. At the Electronic Evergreen: A Computer-Mediated Ethnography of Tribalism in a Newsgroup from Montserrat and Afar, Jonathan Skinner

Part III: Emerging Electronic Tribal Cultures
Chapter 9. "Like a neighborhood of sisters": Can Culture Be Formed Electronically? Deborah Clark Vance
Chapter 10. Gerald M. Phillips as Electronic Tribal Chief: Socioforming Cyberspace, Ann Rosenthal
Chapter 11. Digital Dreamtime, Sonic Talismans: Music Downloading and the Tribal Landscape, Michael C. Zalot
Chapter 12. Magic, Myth, and Mayhem: Tribalization in the Digital Age, Leonie Naughton

Part IV: Cybercrime and Counterculture among Electronic Tribes
Chapter 13. Mundanes at the Gate . . . and Perverts Within: Managing Internal and External Threats to Community Online, Steve Abrams and Smaragd Grün
Chapter 14. Brotherhood of Blood: Aryan Tribalism and Skinhead Cybercrews, Jody M. Roy
Chapter 15. Radical Tribes at Warre: Primitivists on the Net, Mathieu O'Neil
Chapter 16. A "Tribe" Migrates Crime to Cyberspace: Nigerian Igbos in 419 E-Mail Scams, Farooq A. Kperogi and Sandra Duhé

About the Contributors


Excerpt from Electronic Tribes - The Virtual Worlds of Geeks, Gamers, Shamans, and Scammers

Introduction: Where Is the Shaman? (Jim Parker)
The Internet has undergone tremendous transformations since the introduction of the Mosaic browser in 1993 by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Mosaic, the precursor to Netscape, Internet Explorer, Firefox, and other graphical browsers, opened up the Internet in ways that were never imagined by most of us. Use of the Internet has literally exploded over the past decade, with penetration in the United States estimated as high as 70 percent. One of the auxiliary consequences of the explosion of the Internet has been the radical transmutation of our conceptions of sociability. The Internet has become the site not only for the composition and recomposition of new, intriguing, Internet-specific identities; it has also given vent to the recrudescence of hitherto premodern social formations such as the tribe and all the consequences that come with this.

Electronic tribes have existed since well before the present Internet explosion. Personally, I was involved in an e-tribe, or virtual community, in 1986, nearly a decade before the introduction of Mosaic, which started the present revolution in communication. The e-tribe I was part of at that time was a group of computer and media enthusiasts who connected to each other via a primitive bulletin board system, which ran on a repurposed computer that lived in the dresser drawer of one of the members of the group. I am not sure anyone knows the exact date that online tribes began, but we do know that the WELL (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link) began in 1985 and continues to this day. The beginnings of the WELL, the development and the problems encountered in its evolution, are well documented in Howard Rheingold's The Virtual Community.

Even these early efforts at building community on the Internet are well over ten years after the first introduction of e-mail on ARAPANET and other precursors to the Internet. One of the interesting questions addressed by this volume is, what is an electronic tribe? What is the difference between a tribe and community? And what is "virtual" about these concepts? Webster's online dictionary has a definition of "virtual" that includes existing on a computer network.

In the chapters that follow, you will be exposed to all sorts of electronic tribes, those that exist in e-mail lists with very few members, those that follow the more traditional format of a message board that can be found at the WELL, and even tribes that are less formal than the e-mail lists but use the Internet to accomplish the goals of the group. At the upper end of participation, the reader will encounter MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online role-playing games), where literally millions of people can interact with each other online.

When I think of tribes, I think of the tribes I encountered in the media of my childhood. These tribes could be either Native Americans or the tribes of Africa. Certainly, to me, a component of this type of tribe was the interdependence among members of these groups. They were often isolated by factors such as geography, language (though, of course, on TV and in the movies everyone spoke English), and dress, and differed from other tribes or larger groups in terms of religion, housing, and worldview. The reader will come away from this book with a better understanding of what a tribe is. How does a tribe differ from a community or a culture? The authors in this book present a variety of approaches to the concept of tribe and explore the ramifications of these approaches.

As the title suggests, the work explores the implications of Internet communication. Just what are we moving toward in terms of human interaction? Is the Internet bringing us closer together or leading us to lives of isolation where our only connection to other human beings is through the pixels on a computer screen? In many ways the Internet seems to be taking us closer to Marshall McLuhan's Global Village, but just what will that Global Village look like? Will the humans come to a greater understanding of each other, developing relationships that span the globe, overcoming the barriers created by cultures, languages, and distance, or will we retreat to tribes of like-minded individuals who, given the marvels of technology, will find it easier to contact each other? Do we reach out and explore new worlds or retreat into imaginary worlds of our own creation? Certainly, we live in an age when it is easier than ever before to be in contact with others, to find friends with whom we have lost touch. But what sort of world does this create? Have we lost privacy because it is now easier than ever before for people to find out where we are and what we do? With even a limited amount of effort, most anyone searching for others can find them. Even those who are not great Web searchers can employ any number of services to this very end. People obviously want to find each other. The popularity of such services as and supports this assertion. What of the people who do not want to be found? What many see as a wonderful new world, they may see as a nightmare. To see the dark side of this newfound ability to find out about others, we only need to look to identity theft. Though people have been stealing others' personal information long before the Internet, we now live in a world where we must constantly be aware of the dangers of others trying to use the Internet for nefarious purposes. Chapter 16 of this work takes a look at how an age-old scam has migrated to the Internet. Not a day goes by that most of us don't receive some suspicious e-mail trying to get us to invest in some bogus scheme or phishing for personal information to be used to access our records or bank accounts.

Are we creating an online utopia that will bring us closer together, as suggested by McLuhan? Many of the chapters in this book demonstrate how people are working together, sharing information, and leading happier, more productive lives because of new ways of interacting that the Internet engenders. The opposite side of the coin is that are we just beginning an age of dystopia, as envisioned in movies like the Matrix series or books such a William Gibson's Neuromancer. Again, some of the articles show us a darker side of the uses of Internet communication. Is the Internet more of a threat to our families and our children than comic books, radio, or television? Every medium has both positives and negatives associated with it. What this work does is help us to better understand both sides of the equation.

One of the important concepts that I noted while reading the articles in the book is that the Internet cannot be considered a single medium. The term Internet covers a wide range of communication tools. The Internet provides us with tools that range from purely text-based artifacts such as plain e-mail to multimedia tools that employ audio, video, text, and interactivity in nearly any combination you can dream of. If you have not thought of it, someone will tomorrow. Each of these different media has a unique impact upon how we interact with others. The Internet provides us with a cornucopia of environments for study as well as for personal use. The Internet also provides scholars with a unique opportunity for study because many of the ongoing interactions are archived—whether they were created in discussion boards, e-mail groups, instant messages, wikis, or chat rooms. Never before have scholars had access to so much data created without the intrusion of cameras or observers. While certainly Internet communication is not the same as face-to-face communication, we have been presented with an opportunity to examine the interactions between people in ways never before available. The media are new and different and most certainly influence the interactions. However, because the interactions are often stored, we can examine these new types of interactions in ways we have never been able to examine interactions in the past. Several of the authors make excellent use of the stored interactions, allowing them insight into the lives of people that in the past have been rare at best.

A question raised about Internet communication and Internet relationships is: are they real? Do they have the same value or depth as real-world relationships? Are they just ways to hide from real interaction? The philosophical implications of this question are not easily answered, but I see the Internet as providing more capacity for communication and, as with other media, how it is used is up to the individual. For years, we have been talking about long-distance relationships. As long as there has been mail, people have had pen pals. Are these relationships real? Often, pen pals end up meeting in real life. Some couples survive long-distance relationships, while others do not. Just because we call Internet relationships electronic tribes, virtual communities, online friends, IM buddies, etc., doesn't negate the relationships. The way that we interact with others certainly affects the relationship. Just as many relationships cannot survive a physical separation, I assume that some online relationships could not survive a face-to-face encounter. People who meet online often meet face-to-face. Sometimes, this face-to-face meeting makes the relationship grow stronger; at other times, the face-to-face meeting is a disappointment. Internet communication is just a different way of getting to know people. We are still learning how it works. Certainly many of the people we encounter online will never become part of our physical reality, but that does not mean they don't affect us nor us them.

Even within electronic tribes where people interact with each other in fantasy realms, taking on characters that may transport individuals to places they could never visit in reality, as examined in Chapter 7, on guild life in World of Warcraft, people develop relationships. Are we who we are? The online world gives people the opportunity to try out new selves. Is this dishonest? Certainly it can be. We are shown on an almost daily basis the specter of sexual predators pretending to be someone they are not to lure underage victims into situations where they may prey upon them. On the other hand, who can find harm in a woman, an African American, a young person, or practically anyone else not revealing everything about herself during a discussion in order not to have her words filtered by sexism, racism, ageism or other forms of prejudice? Hiding can be used both for nefarious purposes and for protection.

While we can use Internet communication as a place to hide, it also offers us great freedom to think and express ideas and feelings without being bound by the constraints placed upon us by our physical appearance. Just as mail and shortwave radio in the past gave those physically confined a broader world, the Internet has opened up an even broader world. Anyone can find a place to express ideas, whether popular or unpopular. Electronic tribes exist that have a place for anyone, whether it is for innocent pastimes such as crafting, as in Chapter 6, or the more menacing activities of skinheads, as shown in Chapter 14.

So who is the shaman of the e-tribe? Who is the chief? Who are the warriors? Electronic tribes develop norms, and people take on various roles just as those in real life do in face-to-face interaction. Some electronic tribes have a formal structure with elected leadership and assigned roles just as in formal organizations. Some electronic tribes are merely extensions of existing organizations where the online structure is a carryover from an existing organizational structure. Some electronic tribes are informal communication structures within organizations. Electronic tribes give people a chance to be chiefs or shamans when in real life they are much lower on the organizational chart. The article by Ann Rosenthal addresses how Gerald Phillips became an e-tribal chief without even expecting it to happen. Many people think of Howard Rheingold, the author of The Virtual Community and Smart Mobs, as the guru of electronic tribes. He was most certainly one of the early adopters and chroniclers of the phenomenon. Many people take on roles and head up electronic tribes simply because they have slightly more technical expertise than others. For anyone willing to put out the effort and invest the time, a place exists in the online world. All of us who use the Internet to connect with others and develop relationships owe a debt of gratitude to many people who will probably forever remain unnamed who began this journey and keep pushing it forward.

Allow me to take you on a quick tour of the book. The first section seeks to conceptualize electronic tribes. The chapters in this section investigate just what is a tribe and how electronic tribes differ from other types of online groups, and they begin to look at the potential impact of online tribalism.

The second section deals with the social consequences of electronic tribalism. This section looks at existing electronic tribes on, discussion groups, online games, and mailing lists. This very intriguing section examines how people justify electronic tribes as a means of holding groups of people together despite being separated physically, how people join together based upon interest rather than proximity, and even how some people prefer virtual friendships to real-world friendships.

The third section is concerned with the development of online culture. How do electronic tribes develop norms and rules? How is deviant behavior managed? How do leaders develop online? What is the culture that relates to downloading music?

The final section takes the reader to a darker side of electronic tribes, crime and counterculture. As stated earlier, a place exists for everyone on the Internet. This section looks at the places where some of those people live. How do we manage threats? I think most of you will find it very interesting the origins of the Nigerian scam that most of us have found in our e-mail inboxes at one time or another.

This volume doesn't pretend to investigate every aspect of electronic tribalism, but does offer many different points of view and points the way to a very interesting future for both the online communicator and those investigating that communication. We are no longer tied to just our computers and either a dial-up or an Ethernet connection for participation in electronic tribes. The Internet is now available on many wireless devices—whether a person is sitting at Starbucks with a laptop computer, accessing his or her Blackberry while sitting in the park, or using a cell phone almost anywhere in the world.

We are finding more and more ways of connecting. Groups can be called together at a moment's notice via members' cell phones or through such services as Dodgeball; or you can tag locations to let your friends know about a good restaurant or hotel nearby using Socialight.

Most of us belong to some type of electronic tribe. A tribe may be a simple mailing list of the people with whom we work. This may be no more than a supplement to our face-to-face communication. A tribe may be a group we belong to that plays games. Friends on Facebook constitute overlapping tribes. Friendster even provides charts of how these tribes overlap, giving us instant sociograms of our online world. We may go online to discuss politics or to learn how to arrange flowers. We share bookmarks and create tribes based on similar interests using The range seems limitless. The variety of modes for communicating is just as varied. We can work online to create content with others through wikis. We can discuss any subject via bulletin boards. We can find love at We can use our cell phones to find friends who may be close by. We have entered a world very different from that of just ten years ago. Let's move forward on the journey and explore what the electronic world has to offer.

Media and Ethics Seminar

Media and Ethics Seminar

Friday 14th March 2008 (10am-4pm)

University of Westminster

Boardroom, 309 Regent Street,


Media and ethics are at the heart of many pressing issues in contemporary society and culture. As the media becomes ever more part of our everyday lives, ethical issues become ever more important to understanding right and wrong ways to live our lives. Critics argue that contemporary media is lacking in ethics, with many pointing to the 'dumbing down' of news, or a 'wild west' web.

This seminar offers a cross disciplinary perspective on media and ethics, drawing on international experts in political economy and policy, media history, media audiences, documentary and visual anthropology, to discuss contemporary developments in this area. Topics include ethics and political journalism, the BBC and Northern Ireland, documentary and human rights, children and new media. The aim of this seminar is to discuss media and ethics across a diverse range of research projects within communication and the arts.

Speakers include

* David Gauntlett, author of Creative Explorations;

* Lizzie Jackson, researcher AHRC/BBC project on children and new media;

* Lene Hansen, author of Security as Practice;

* Annette Hill, author of Restyling Factual TV;

* Anne Jerslev, editor of Realism and Reality;

* Anthony McNicholas, Official Historian BBC and author of Politics, Religion and the Press; Mette Mortensen, researcher Danish project on media and ethics;

* Joshua Oppenheimer, documentary film maker, director of the Globalisation Tapes;

* Jean Seaton, Official Historian BBC and author of Carnage and the Media;

* Anne Scott Sorensen, co-author of Gender and Communication;

* Joram ten Brink, editor of Building Bridges: the Cinema of Jean Rouch;

* Daya Thussu, author of News as Entertainment;

* Ida Winther, researcher Danish project on media and ethics.

This event is free. Spaces are limited so please register by contacting Erica Spindler ( Closing date for registration Friday 7th March.

Media and Ethics Programme

9.45: Coffee and registration

10:00 Media and Ethics
Introduction - Annette Hill (University of Westminster) and Anne Jerslev (Copenhagen University)

10.15: Politics and Ethics
Chair: Annette Hill (University of Westminster)

'Market ethics and global infotainment' Daya Thussu (University of Westminster)

'The politics and ethics of representation: how visuals become security
Lene Hansen (Copenhagen University)

11.00: New Media and Ethics
Chair: Anne Jerslev (Copenhagen University)

'New media, creativity and ethics' David Gauntlett (University of Westminster)

The personal blog: authenticity, affect and ethics' Anne Scott Sørensen
(University of Southern Denmark)

'Children and ethics' Lizzie Jackson (University of Westminster)

'Mobile telephones and the challenging of the private sphere' Ida Winther
(Copenhagen University)

12.30: Lunch

1.30: Journalism and Ethics
Chair: Winston Mano

'Pragmatic ethical engineering: BBC World Service' Jean Seaton (University
of Westminster)

'BBC journalism and ethics: the history of Northern Ireland' Anthony
McNicholas (University of Westminster)

'Visual warfare in the age of the digital' Mette Mortensen (Copenhagen

2.30 Documentary and Ethics
chair: Iben Have (Copenhagen University)

'Show of Force: filmmaking, genre and the Indonesian genocide' Joram ten Brink and Joshua Oppenheimer (University of Westminster)

3.30: Closing remarks: Annette Hill and Anne Jerslev

Further information and programme in pdf format also available from

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Mobile Life Events - mSociety 2008 and EURO mGOV 2008

MOBILE LIFE EVENTS - exploring the influence of mobile technologies on life -

mSOCIETY 2008 -- The 1st International Conference on Mobile Society
EURO mGOV 2008 -- The 3rd European Conference on Mobile Government

15 -19 September 2008, Sheraton Voyager, Antalya, Turkey

Mobile technologies are having a great impact on how we live our lives. These influences range from personal relations to interaction in society, and from the transformation of the public sector to the dynamics of economic development.

mLife conference and exhibitions are prime events for all organizations and professionals who would like to monitor, take part in and shape the development of the social aspects of the mobile revolution. They provide opportunities to businesses, public sector organizations and researchers to explore the frontiers of the social mobile revolution and be informed in order to reach their goals.

EURO mGOV 2008 - The 3rd European Conference on Mobile Government
15-16 September 2008, Sheraton Voyager, Antalya, Turkey

Mobile Government involves revolutionary approaches to the modernization of public sector via the utilization of networked mobile technologies in local or central government organizations. It aims to enhance public sector business by creating new opportunities to provide services to society. mGovernment is now a recognized field of practice and research, and constitutes the next evolutionary step of progress in eGovernment.

The EURO mGOV 2008 aims to be a platform for presenting, exchanging and disseminating the newest developments, ideas, applications and services in the field of mGovernment among three essential constituents: public and private sector professionals and the researchers.

mSOCIETY 2008 The 1st International Conference on Mobile Society
18-19 September 2008, Sheraton Voyager, Antalya, Turkey

Mobile Society refers to the emerging trends of the collective-life on earth driven by the technology of networked mobile phones and other mobile devices. These technologies and its fast and wide adoption is influencing the way we live in the society, we run businesses and the way we are as an individual.

The First International Conference on Mobile Society (mSociety 2008) aims to be a platform for the presentation, exchange and dissemination of the latest developments, ideas, applications and services involving all aspects of practice and research in mSociety.

The mLife events organization invites you to join the networks and forums for creating, exchanging and disseminating business, social and psychological perspectives on mobile technologies and how they influence our life on earth.

Further Information on participation and content please visit or email us