W3C 2014 AC Meeting

Web Annotations Workshop (April 2014)

Tim Cole <t-cole3@illinois.edu> & Doug Schepers < schepers@w3.org >

June 2014, Cambridge, MA


The practice of annotating has deep roots.
"I have been always solicitous of an ample margin; this not so much through any love of the thing in itself, however agreeable, as for the facility it affords me of pencilling suggested thoughts, agreements, and differences of opinion, or brief critical comments in general" -- Poe, Edgar Allan. Marginalia. The United States Democratic Review 15 (77) [November 1844]: 484-494.
Instances of annotating on the Web are extensive, diverse and increasing in number.
"Annotating is the act of creating associations between distinct pieces of information. Annotation is a ubiquitous activity online in many guises: comments on articles, footnotes, sticky notes, 'hot spots' on images, timestamped notes on video or audio tracks, highlighted text passages in ebook readers, evocative pictures attached to song lyrics, quotes and links on social media, geotagged pinpoints on maps, and even tagged bookmarks, are all forms of annotation." -- W3C. Web Annotations Workshop Home Page. April 2014.
The Web Annotation Workshop provided a chance to take stock of where we are
and move towards consensus about where we need to go.

Challenge & Motivation

The Challenge -- annotation on the Web currently lacks a structured approach:
Annotation happens on the Web today, but idiosyncratically, in silos and with little hope of interoperability.
The Motivation -- annotation functionality is of growing priority for:
  • Digital Publishing -- e.g.: scholarly publishers; news & media publishers seeking greater reader engagement
  • Online learning / e-learning / education on the Web
  • Collaborative document development -- review & editing workflows; collaborative authoring
  • Data curation / data mining / data visualization
What enhancements of the Web ecosystem can help us fully realize the potential of annotations?

Anatomy of a Simple Web Annotation

Anatomy of a simple annotation using Twitter post as example

Open Annotation Community Group

Co-Chairs: Rob Sanderson & Paolo Ciccarese

Formed jointly by the Open Annotation Collaboration and the Annotation Ontology Initiative.

Since formation other projects/initiatives have joined and/or consulted with the CG, including:

Goals Achieved:

These accomplishments provide a foundation
but there's more to do.

Illustrations -- Annotations as a Discourse Chain

granular annotation of a blog entry
From Retrieved from https://medium.com/message/everything-is-broken-81e5f33a24e1 7 June 2014.

Illustrations -- Annotation of Academic Journal Articles

annotation of a scholarly journal article
From James Williamson (John Wiley & Sons), Annotation in a Publishing Context
 (Or Thinking Beyond the Annotated Bibliography): slide 9. Presented at The Workshop.

Illustrations -- Annotations that stay with image when reused across Web Pages

annotating an image as contained in 1 Web page; seeing the same annotation when viewing the image as contained in a 2nd Web page
From prototype for Emblematica Online (http://emblematica.grainger.illinois.edu/)

Illustrations -- Annotations in Higher Education

hightlight and note taking functionality discussion forums between students, professor, and any subgroup within the class
From James Williamson (John Wiley & Sons), Annotation in a Publishing Context
 (Or Thinking Beyond the Annotated Bibliography): slides 23, 27 & 28. Presented at The Workshop.

Annotation Workshop Outcomes

Potential deliverables of an Annotation WG (if chartered)

Annotation Workshop -- More Information

2 April 2014, San Francisco, California (Fort Mason Center)

Resources available online:

Demo (Annotation of Specification Drafts) / Discussion of Next Steps