Toward An Annotation Standard

At his excellent TeleRead.Org blog, David Rothman tackles has an intriguing look at initial attempts to create annotation standards for e-books, web sites and other electronic documents.

One existing initiative trying to move toward open standards for annotation of web documents is the W3C’s Annotea project where “annotations are stored externally in annotation servers and presented to the user by a client capable of understanding annotation metadata and capable of interacting with an annotation server.” The Annozilla project is work to create an extension for Firefox to implement the Annotea method of annotation in that browser.

Rothman has a long list of suggestions for what an annotation system should address, including:

  • Provisions for a universal spec that would encompass not just e-books but every conceivable digital object, from Moby Dick to a JPEG of Herman Melville or the sounds of a whale. . . .
  • . . .

  • Provisons for moderation as needed.

One of the things that an annotation system should have is the ability to easily choose from among different annotators and groups of annotators, which would eliminate the need for any moderation system to be built into the annotation system. What I need is the ability to say I want to see annotations from X, Y and Z and only annotations from those individuals/groups.

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