January 21, 2022

W3C Workshop on Annotations on Web Scheduled to Take Place Next Week in San Francisco

Very interesting workshop. Something the library community should be aware of and perhaps share opinions on in the future.

The W3C workshop (hosted by hypothes.is) will focus on footnotes, comments, bookmarks, and marginalia on the Web.

In Their Words:

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. One of the most common and engaging web activities for the average person is discussion of a document or piece of media.

Annotation currently lacks a structured approach. Comments are siloed inside the blog or comment system hosted and controlled by the publisher of the original document, or inside an ebook reader. They aren’t readily available for syndication or aggregation, and it’s difficult to find more comments by an insightful author if they are scattered around different places on the web. Worthwhile commentary is obscured by trolling, spam, or trivial comments. These are challenges both social and technical.

Other problems are purely technical: interchange formats need to be agreed upon; privacy and security of comments need to be preserved; styling highlighted content across element boundaries is tricky; and finally, anchoring a passage when you don’t control the original document, or when it has a multipage or single page view, or when it has newer versions or has otherwise changed from when the annotation was made, is a hard problem, and lies at the heart of annotations.

The full text of the 27 accepted submissions/position papers are available here.

Speakers from NISO, Harvard, University of Illinois, Microsoft, Max Planck Institute, Open Knowledge Foundation UK, Creative Commons, and elsewhere will participate.

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.