Wednesday, November 11, 2015

An Annotated Contact List for Social Discovery

As part of teaching my students to integrate a social component into their research, I've asked them to brainstorm four kinds of people to contact (see "Socializing Preliminary Literary Research" and its links). As part of this, I have suggested creating an annotated contact list.


At the top of your annotated contact list, briefly state the topic and status of your research project. If you have arrived at a claim, state what that is. If you have some lingering questions or issues related to your topic, briefly mention these. (See the example below)

Create a list divided into the four categories of people described in the blog posts linked above (homies, peers, enthusiasts, and experts).

Include a few people under each category. (These are loose and overlapping categories, so don't worry too much about which category they belong in. The idea is to go from more personal and informal social sources [homies, peers] to less personal and more formal social sources [enthusiasts, experts]).

With each person listed, say something about who they are and why they would be a relevant person with which to discuss the topic at hand. If possible and appropriate, link to that person's online profile or relevant website.

Click through to see an example annotated contact list

Example Annotated Contact List:

Post Title: Annotated Contact List: Virtually Performing Shakespeare

Where I'm at:
The topic of my present research is the performance of Shakespeare inside of virtual worlds for undergraduate literature majors and whether this is valuable or viable. I'm ready to claim that although there are inevitable hiccups and learning curves, getting students to perform Shakespeare in a collaborative virtual environment will bring new relevance to Shakespeare, to higher education, and to uses of the internet.


  • Karen Burton (my wife) - because she listens to me and isn't afraid to tell me my digital ideas are nuts
  • Stephen Humphrey (friend from my days in L.A.) - because he loves crazy ideas and he's a programmer and also a real reader. He'll be intrigued and critical. I'll ask him about the feasibility of getting students onto a virtual platform. (He's also into educational innovations).
  • Michael Goodman (my 7th grade drama teacher with whom I've recently reconnected). This man has taught drama as a career in Jr. High and I'm sure he would have strong opinions, probably negative, about virtually performing Shakespeare.
  • Averill Corkin (former student in a directing program now) - because she's directed a couple of Shakespeare plays and she's young and hip and might be enthusiastic about this concept.
  • Paul Bills (former student, grad student at U of U in video game production). Paul was an English major and spends his days immersed in virtual worlds. He might have good insights.
  • Brandie Siegried (colleague and fellow Shakespeare professor) - because she does Shakespeare and film, and because she's very incisive and articulate and unafraid of telling me what she thinks.
  • Daniel Zappala (colleague, computer science professor) - because we taught a course together on digital civilization that included consideration of virtual worlds and also because he's into civics and digital civics and is open to taking online worlds seriously
  • Paul Manning (an anthropologist who I do not know but who has taught a virtual worlds class)
  • Robert Means (subject librarian at HBLL, BYU) - wrote a Shakespeare research guide and could direct me to others who've done experiments with Shakespeare
  • Metaverse Shakespeare Company - "Ina Centaur" (multimedia artist who did Second Life Shakespeare performances) - Found her on with lots of evidence of her being deep into virtual Shakespeare. A must source to talk to.
  • Niamh Riordan - because she liked an online presentation about virtual Shakespeare 
  • KKermode (name on Instagram) - because he posted an augmented reality Shakespeare game on Instagram
  • Bruce Young (Shakespeare scholar and colleague) - because he's open minded but also more traditional
  • Alan Galey - authored a book on experiments in New Media and Shakespeare.
  • Jeff Parkin - film professor who created an augmented reality game and who recently queried me on this topic
  • Steve Audia of Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Tech Center - because he's part of a team that builds virtual worlds in higher education. 

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