I have been lucky enough to be involved in Hypertext and Web research for nearly twenty years, firstly in the area of Open, Adaptive and Contextual hypermedia and later the areas of Social Media Analytics, Linked Data, UX Design, Computational Narrative, and Web Science. I spent a number of years applying this sort of technology to e-learning, in particular digital literacy, personal-learning systems, and open educational resources (OER). My current research interests are based around personal data and digital narratives, especially location-based narrative systems (I am the Principle Investigator on the Leverhulme funded StoryPlaces project).

I am a founding member of the Web and Internet Science (WAIS) research group, and a member of the steering group for the Web Science Doctoral Training Centre (DTC). I am also the Vice-Chair of SIGWEB, the ACM Special Interest Group for hypertext and the web.

In my spare time I am the Director of Admissions for the School of Electronics and Computer Science (both undergraduate and postgraduate taught students), and for fun I bask in the reflected glory of my brilliant research students and talented researchers.

You can view my ORCHID record here (0000-0002-7512-2710).

Research Areas

Interactive Digital Narrative

My own PhD was in old school hypertext systems, and I still carry a flame for digital words and stories.  Narrative systems draw on a range of linguistic and literary areas in order to understand how machine-systems might undertake narrative analysis and narrative generation, and support human beings in new and novel storytelling.

I am especially interested in how we might use narrative techniques to draw out stories from large datasets (such as collections of social media data), and am also interested in how we might develop more nuanced mechanisms for generating stories from media fragments or knowledge bases, by developing a better understanding of story structures and relationships (for example, plot threads and thematic elements). I have supervised postgraduate students on areas such as thematic modelling of subtexts, online argumentation structures, digital journalism, co-readership and play, and the narratives of place.

I am proud to be a double-award winner of the Engelbart Award (2013, 2016) for my work on location-based storytelling and sculptural hypertext – exploring how digital narratives can be interwoven with real-world places. This is best exemplified by StoryPlaces, an interdisciplinary research project working with writers to explore the poetics of location-based narratives through digital storytelling deployments in Southampton, Bournemouth, and Crystal Palace.

StoryPlaces_200px The StoryPlaces web client (created in 2016) is a powerful sculptural hypertext engine designed to be accessed on a smart device, and capable of driving complex interactive location-based stories. 

Web Science, Social Media, and Personal Data

Web Science studies the web as a socio-technical system, bringing together many fields including computer science, sociology, psychology, law and economics.  I am interested in Social Media Analytics as a powerful tool, with both positive and negative consequences. I have supervised postgraduate students on areas such as learning analytics, personal data and privacy, digital literacy, and online patterns of behaviour.

I have acted as the principle investigator on a number of projects exploring how digital literacy effects our expectations and interactions with web systems, and how this shapes the way we use the web as a personal learning and knowledge tool, in particular in regard to Open Educational Resources (OER) and Personal Learning Environments (PLEs).

faroes The LanguageBox was developed with the LLAS and was our first attempt to reinvent teaching and learning repositories, and completely rethink learning objects. It is based on the tried and tested EPrints platform, and we learnt from Web 2.0 sharing sites, and aimed to produce an online tool that minimised the effort it took to upload content, and resulted in learning objects that were more focused on content and the history of use (rather than abstract metadata).
 edshare-blog Southampton EdShare was the result of us applying this same philosophy to an institutional repository. It resulted in not only the first OER tool for the University of Southampton, but also a reusable repository framework (called simply ‘EdShare’) that allows the creation of new repository sites with the same functionality.
Hum_box_Logo The HumBox is one of the best well-known OER repositories created using the EdShare framework. It is used by teachers and lecturers in humanities across the UK to share resources and ideas.


PhD Students

In the last ten years I have supervised over thirty PhD students, and acted as an internal examiner for thirty-five students. At present I am looking for students who are interesting in studying online digital narratives – especially around interactive storytelling.

Current Students

  • Nada Albunni – The Arabic Online Public Sphere
  • Fatima Asiri – Privacy Preference Behaviour
  • Dalal Azizy – Understanding Deanonymisation in Linked Data
  • Nick Bennett – Extracting the Narratives of Place from Social Media Data
  • Rob Blair – Attitudes of School Children to using Social Media for Non-Formal Learning
  • Tom Blount – Online Eristic Argumentation
  • Emma Craddock – Transparency and Personal Data
  • Tim O’Riordan – Pedagogical Content Analysis applied to MOOC forums
  • Vincent Marmion – The Identity and Privacy Cycle
  • Brian Parkinson – Personal Data and the Digitally Extended Self
  • Callum Spawforth – Shared Digital Interactive Storytelling
  • Adriana Wilde – Exploring the Potential of Learning Analytics within the Internet of Things: A Behavioural View
  • Ryan Javanshir – Transmedia and interactive narratives
  • Taghreed Alghamdi – MOOC integration with face to face teaching
  • Sofia Kitromili – Authoring and publishing interactive digital narratives

Completed Students

  • Fahad Almoqhim (PhD, 2017) – Building Tag Hierarchies Based on Co-occurrences and Lexico-Syntactic Patterns
  • Jonathan Scott (PhD, 2017) – Enhancing Credibility of Citizen News
  • Rikki Prince (PhD, 2017) – Sharing User Models Between Interactionally-Diverse Adaptive Educational Systems
  • Nora Almuhanna (PhD, 2017) – Social Media Acceptance and Use under Risk: A Cross-Cultural Study of the Impact of Antisocial Behaviour on the Use of Twitter
  • Phil Waddell (MPhil, 2017) -Investigating the role of Social Media Technologies in the political narratives of Global Justice Activists
  • Syed Asim Jalal (PhD, 2015) – Educational Multimedia Adaptation for Power-Saving in Mobile Learning
  • Muhammad Imran (PhD, 2015) – The Impact of Consolidating Web Based Social Networks on Trust Metrics and Expert Recomendation Systems
  • Reuben Binns (PhD, 2015) – Openness for Privacy: Applying Open Approaches to Personal Data Challenges
  • Areeb Alowisheq (PhD, 2014) – EXPRESS Resource-Oriented and RESTful Semantic Web Services
  • Aristea Zafeiropoulou (PhD, 2014) – A Paradox of Privacy: Unravelling the Reasoning behind Online Location Sharing
  • Norhidayah Azman (PhD, 2014) – Dark Retweets: An Investigation of Non-Conventional Retweeting Patterns
  • Saad Alahmari (PhD, 2012) – Service Identification using Choreography and Model Transformations
  • Ali Aseere (PhD, 2012) – A Voting-Based Agent System to Support Intelligent System for E-learning Scenarios
  • Wen-Pin Chen (MPhil, 2012) – Design of a Scrutable Learning System
  • Charlie Hargood (PhD, 2011) – Semiotic Term Expansion as the Basis for Thematic Models in Narrative Systems
  • Clare Hooper (PhD, 2011) – Towards Designing More Effective Systems by Understanding User Experiences
  • Asma Ounnas (PhD, 2010) – Enhancing the Automation of Forming Groups for Education with Semantics
  • Mischa Tuffield (PhD, 2009) – Telling Your Story: A Tale of Autobiographical Metadata and the Semantic Web

(Btw – the image at the top of this page is from a demonstration memex built by Trevor Smith – you can find out more about it here – or watch his demo video)