Monday, December 28, 2015

Annotation progress from

I've blogged before on the importance of annotation for scholarly communication and the effort to implement it. At the beginning of December Hypothesis made a major announcement:
On Tuesday, we announced a major new initiative to bring this vision to reality, supported by a coalition of over 40 of the world’s essential scholarly organizations, such as JSTOR, PLOS, arXiv, HathiTrust, Wiley and HighWire Press, who are linking arms to establish a new paradigm of open collaborative annotation across the world’s knowledge.
Below the fold, more details on this encouraging development.

There is now an official W3C Working Group to standardize annotation. The initiative laid out their near-term goals:
Our goal is that within three years, annotation can be deployed across much of scholarship. Today, coalition members are in different phases of engagement. Some have already implemented annotation natively and are working to increase adoption and develop new uses, others are at the very beginning of the process. Objectives for the first year, in 2016, are to begin socializing the progress that’s been made, to identify opportunities and discuss potential challenges, lay out a common roadmap, and for most to begin the process of design and experimentation necessary to implement annotation in their own context.
Getting the various site's commenting and annotation systems to converge on Web standards to provide interoperability will be critical. The announcement continues:
More information about this initiative and the coalition members is available here, including a video with interviews of key members. Nature News covered it here and we also blogged about what led to the formation of this coalition. Here is the reaction that it generated.

Over the last year, we've already seen integration in a number of scholarly publishing platforms and portals, such as with USC Scalar, and Ubiquity Press. University of Michigan Press has been using Hypothesis for both pre- and post-publication discussion of texts, including this ”annotation event” around the publication of James Brown’s Ethical Programs: Hospitality and the Rhetorics of Software.
It will be very interesting to see how this progresses. As with Memento and Signposting, getting the technology to work is the first but easier step. Getting it widely deployed and thus useful is much harder.

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