PhD proposal: Properties of digital matter, digital traceability and digital remediation

The term digital remediation has recently received substantial attention in the field of human-computer studies. In the proposed research digital remediation anchors an attempt to match and / or transform an object, person or phenomenon with one or more digital refferents. Furthermore, the term ‘remediation’ emphasizes the process the process of transforming rather than the end result of the transformation (frequently coined as ‘representation’). Computer scientists have over the years developed and applied various techniques for ‘representing’ (in 2D or 3D) objects of reference, with all of them being strongly dependent on the physical properties of the referrent object and how these may drive digital reconstruction using appropriate algorithms. Nonetheless, very little is known about remediating one self based on the digital traces left on and retained by web-based applications and servives.

The suggested theme will examine the proposed topic with the intention to develop an comprehensive understanding of the process of digital remediation, the techniques deemed appropriate and the challenges confronting the management and (meta)processing of digital trace data.

The research could be organized in three phases. At first, there should be a comprehensive review of theoretical streams relevant to the subject matter and the results should help the candidate define both the technical – design oriented phase as well as the empirical work to be carried out. As an illustrative case study, the candidate could consider to assess one shelf based on what it is actually performed with or how his/her activity is traced by web-based applications and services. To this effect, a tentative plan of activities could include the following

  • investifation of approparite theoretical frames of reference (i.e., identity construction theories, distributed cognition, activity theory) to gain insights into what constitutes meaningful human (and non-human) activity in computer-mediated settings
  • pilot development of a digital platform / artifact which will feature a repository of treaceable activity of actors
  • digital remediation (or assemblage traces) that constitute the virtual self, based on the contents of the repository

It is expected that the above will shed light into a multi-dimensional understanding of acting in digital settings and will feed the research into next generation user profilling mechanisms.

For further information interested parties can contact Prof. Demosthenes Akoumianakis (

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