Annotea Project


Annotea is a W3C LEAD (Live Early Adoption and Demonstration) project under Semantic Web Advanced Development (SWAD). Annotea enhances collaboration via shared metadata based Web annotations, bookmarks, and their combinations. By annotations we mean comments, notes, explanations, or other types of external remarks that can be attached to any Web document or a selected part of the document without actually needing to touch the document. When the user gets the document he or she can also load the annotations attached to it from a selected annotation server or several servers and see what his peer group thinks. Similarly shared bookmarks can be attached to Web documents to help organize them under different topics, to easily find them later, to help find related material and to collaboratively filter bookmarked material.

Annotea is open; it uses and helps to advance W3C standards when possible. For instance, we use an RDF based annotation schema for describing annotations as metadata and XPointer for locating the annotations in the annotated document. Similarly a bookmark schema describes the bookmark and topic metadata.

Annotea is part of the Semantic Web efforts. It provides a RDF metadata based extendible framework for rich communication about Web pages while offering a simple annotation and bookmark user interface. The annotation metadata can be stored locally or in one or more annotation servers and presented to the user by a client capable of understanding this metadata and capable of interacting with an annotation server with the HTTP service protocol.

The first client implementation of Annotea is W3C's Amaya editor/browser. Nothing prevents other clients from implementing these capabilities too. The current Amaya user interface for annotations is presented in the Amaya documentation. Other projects (Firefox client, PHP work, etc) will be added shortly.

Learn more

You can find out more from documents that explain Annotea.


  • 2 January, 2003. Instructions for annotea-show XSLT script for presenting annotations on a HTML page.
  • 8 July, 2003. First partial implementation of Annotea based shared bookmarks was released in Amaya 8.1 Linux version. It stores bookmarks locally. The bookmark schema document was published.
  • 19 December, 2002. The Annotea Protocol document was updated.
  • 24 July, 2002. The JavaScript bookmarlet servlet running on the W3C servers has been decommissioned due to insufficient resources to continue to maintain it.
  • 11 January, 2002. The JavaScript bookmarklet bug was fixed.
  • 10 January, 2002. Our JavaScript bookmarklet has a bug that is exposed by the new server code running on annotest.w3.org. It is not displaying annotation properties served by annotest.w3.org correctly at the moment.
  • 20 December, 2001. The quick tutorial for using annotations in Amaya was updated to include a section about replies.
  • 17 December, 2001. The Annotea client in Amaya was extended to support annotations on annotations. We also support a new RDF schema so that users can reply to annotations. The replies are shown as a discussion thread. For more information, visit the Amaya home page.

How to ...

Use annotations

Read how to use annotations with the W3C public annotation service and Amaya or some other clients.

Install your own server

It is also possible to install your own annotation server.

Write new clients

You can write new clients that communicate with the annotation servers.

Annotea components

Examine a detailed list of Annotea related projects that we are aware of.


W3C offers a public annotation service for testing purposes at http://annotest.w3.org/annotations. Please read theAcceptable Use Policy. As this is a trial service W3C does not guarantee that it will store annotations permanently.

See also the server-side implementations of Annotea.

Others are strongly encouraged to start their own Annotea servers.

See the client-side implementations.

Give us feedback

Feedback on the service in general can be sent to www-annotation, a publicly archived mailing list (you can also subscribe to the list). This list is also for discussions about annotation services and approaches in general.

Amaya bugs and Amaya related information can be reported as usual to the Amaya mailing lists.

Marja-Riitta Koivunen

Last updated $Date: 2005/10/31 18:54:07 $