Blog Post

Big Welcome to Marco Toledo Bastos, HASTAC's New Postdoctoral Fellow!

If you have seen, read, and watched the video of HASTAC's network by Marco Toledo Bastos, you've already met the newest member of our HASTAC Central team.   If you haven't seen, read, and watched yet, check it out. I love learning that, in the HASTAC online network, there are only four not six degrees of separation (take that, Kevin Bacon!).   And I'm fascinating by the diversity of our commenters.   My own theory is that when one is defining and creating a new interdisciplinary field, diversity is a sign of health.  The last thing you want is replication of an existing cohort or clique with a new name.   But you read Marco's entry and let us know what you think about all this data.

Marco is inheriting the mantel of NSF EAGER Postdoctoral Fellow from David Sparks, who has gone off to be a statistician for the Boston Celtics after working at HASTAC for several rich and very delightful months.  Marco is filling those shoes---but virtually.   Living in London and telecommuting, Marco joins us each week on a large screen in the PhD Lab in Digital Knowledge at Duke.   Back in London, he's hard at work crunching and analyzing data, making collaborations with others trying to understand the strong and loose ties of new networks, and in general helping us to understand what all this content on the HASTAC site tells us about ourselves.

Let me tell you a little about Marco and how fortunate we all are to have him join our team.   Marco earned his BA in History from the State University of São Paulo, Brazil, then went on to earn both a Master’s and a PhD in Communications Studies in Brazil before moving to Frankfurt where he earned a second PhD in Cultural Anthropology before going to the London School of Economics for a postdoctoral fellowship.    He  knows many languages—both human and computational!  And he’s published numerous articles on social networks, cybernetics, chatrooms, online communication, and other topics that make him exactly right to try to understand the complex interrelationships in our HASTAC network.

I’m very happy to introduce him to you.   And I hope if you have any questions that you might be interested in, having to do with data, networks, interactions, online mentoring, affiliations, credentialing, strong and weak ties, interdisciplinarity, or anything else that a data ninja might elucidate, that you will contact him via the HASTAC contact box or in the comments section and let him know.   He’s also always eager to find collaborators who might be interested in comparative studies of other networks, similar or dissimilar.  

Please join me in welcoming Marco to our HASTAC team---and now, come up with some great questions that he will crunch, I assure you, with both charm and care! 



Thanks for the kind words, Cathy. It's much appreciated. See you online in a few days.


Marco, what a great background you have to contribute to HASTAC.

Cathy mentions in her welcome to you as an HASTAC postdoctoral fellow that you are interested in finding collaborators for comparative studies of other networks. This prompts me to wonder if you might be interested in comparing the HASTAC network, and other collaborative academic/public networks, with what we are trying to do at the academic/public history collaboration MarineLives? 

We have been hashing together network data from various social media outlets we use to get a sense of the character of the individuals who are following us and who are becoming involved in our work - data from our Twitter handles @marinelivesorg and @annotatesources, and from our use of Facebook, SKYPE, and a wordpress blog. It would be fascinating to compare this with other networks which stress building trust and engaging its members in collaboration. We would be happy to share some of these data for comparative research purposes.  You can get a sense of the scope and reach of several of these social media networks and readerships from a recent article I wrote in our Shipping News blog: Colin Greenstreet, Communicating MarineLives, November 24, 2013

We got going off the back of a Hackathon at the English National Archives in spring 2012, and then ran a six country thirty person proof of concept of collaborative transcription of Admiralty court legal records from the mid-C17th. Since then we have been begun to partner with a number of academic groups, both in traditional early modern history departments and in informatics departments with interests in the semantic web and in creative computing. We are entirely volunteer based, with volunteers currently based in England, Germany, Italy, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy and North America

With best wishes and much interest in the visualisations you have been posting and discussions you have been encouraging. And by the way, I see we are both based in London.


Hi Colin,

That sounds interesting. I'll definitely check out the project and see what overlaps there might be between the data. Keep up the good work.