Thursday, May 29, 2008

Botgirl's Bookshelf: Digital Ego by Jacob van Kokswi jk

Digital Ego: Social and Legal Aspects of Virtual Identity by Jacob van Kokswi jk is a sprawling, quirky and encyclopedic exploration of identity.

Kokswi surfs in and out of an astounding variety of perspectives including ancient and modern history, philosophy, psychology, law and artificial intelligence. He makes good use of graphics to clarify concepts. I especially like his chart outlining the structure of online identity. It's the academic big brother to my more narrative images on the topic.

The footnotes alone are worth the purchase price. If you don't see me in-world much this week, it's because I'm busy running around the web gathering up all of the content he references.

I'm not going to compile the results from the avatar vs. human test results until the weekend, so there's still time to participate.


Forelle Broek said...

Thanks for calling attention to this, BG. I'm adding it to the "must read now" list for my own research on SLegality.

Dusan Writer said...

If ONLY he had an editor - the meandering is wonderful but really - it needed a good tightening up by someone with an eye for helping an author with brilliant ideas express them with a lot more clarity. If I had my copy I'd toss in an example or's such a shame, because it distracts from the pleasures of the content.

While the legal section is worth the price of the book, the rest of it I'm not so sure - I didn't find it all that, hmm...coherent. And I'm not sure that the overuse of footnotes to Wikipedia really qualifies as scholarly although you're right - there is some good stuff in there, although I think that if footnotes comprise 1/3rd of the content maybe they should have been appended as a really useful appendix?

Having said that, there are some real gems in here, some notions to explore, some side links to commentary on identity, avatar rights, all that good stuff. I just found it a bit tough to wade through, and I'm hardly one for clarity or brevity myself.

I know - always better to say something nice or don't say anything at all....but consider it a plea on behalf of editors everywhere - even the greatest ideas can use a bit of sharpening, and if you're going to actually *gasp* put it on paper, it's a useful service to your readers.

Hmm. It's Monday. Maybe that's why. Because really, bravo for Digital Ego, it DOES add to our collective knowledge - but if I was going to recommend a MUST READ - not for this month, or this year, but for this decade when it comes to virtual worlds, it would be Coming of Age in Second Life (read it in parallel to Hamlet's book and you're pretty much good to go).