Web annotation

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A web annotation is an online annotation associated with a web resource, typically a web page. With a Web annotation system, a user can add, modify or remove information from a Web resource without modifying the resource itself. The annotations can be thought of as a layer on top of the existing resource, and this annotation layer is usually visible to other users who share the same annotation system, making it a type of social software tool.

Web annotation can be used for the following purposes:

  • to rate a Web resource, such as by its usefulness, user-friendliness, suitability for viewing by minors.
  • to improve or adapt its contents by adding/removing material, something like a wiki.
  • as a collaborative tool, e.g. to discuss the contents of a certain resource.
  • as a medium of artistic or social criticism, by allowing Web users to reinterpret, enrich or protest against institution or ideas that appear on the Web.
  • to quantify transient relationships between information fragments.


Web annotation systems

Web browsers typically have some form of web annotation system built-in as standard. Alternate systems include:

  • A.nnotate[1] - notes on web pages and uploaded PDF/Word documents attached to highlighted text
  • Delicious - allows users to share and organize bookmarks using tags. Provides a number of search feeds to facilitate mashups.
  • Diigo - for highlighting text and posting sticky notes on webpages.
  • Reframe It[2] - a browser extension that allows users to comment publicly or privately in a margin on the live website, adjacent to the text or photo the comment references.
  • SharedCopy - AJAX-based web annotation with cache and shorten url with easy sharing functions.
  • ShiftSpace - has the tag line "an open source layer above any webpage" and is based on the Greasemonkey platform for Firefox.
  • Sidewiki - a Google service that is available via toolbars for Firefox and IE
  • Stickis - Firefox and IE toolbars that allow rich media notes to be attached to any web page. See only those from your friends anywhere you browse.
  • WebNotes[3] - highlight or sticky note content, organize annotations and share with colleagues by using either a toolbar or bookmarklet (IE or Firefox).

Former systems include:

  • Annotea - a W3C project that tried to establish a standard for web annotation.
  • Nethernet - a multi-player online game, now closed.
  • ThirdVoice - a notable system launched in 1999 that shut down due to lack of success in April 2001.[4]
  • Wikalong - implemented a wiki which anyone could use to describe or comment or discuss a web page as it appeared on a certain date.
  • Stet - formerly used for the GPLv3 drafts.

See also


Further reading

External links

Personal tools

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