Annotating the web

My esteemed colleague. Steve Song, has written a blog post about an Annotate-ipedia, a shared mechanism to annotate content on the web. It is only an idea at this stage, but a damn good one. We first discussed this concept last year when considering submitting a paper to Innovate journal’s forthcoming special edition on the Future of the Textbook.

Over the holidays I read Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. My copy has an introduction and notes by Richard Maxwell. While the book is brilliant, the notes really made reading it a richer, more enjoyable experience. They set the context, explained links to real people (the novel is historically factual), framed the theme within Dickens’ own personal struggles, etc.

But how much better if I could read notes from others? From school teachers, historians, Dickens’ fans and teens? How cool would it not be if I could ask a question about a particular historical point and have it answered right there, alongside the text? Then the book could become a resource for History students learning about the French Revolution as well as English language learners.

Bring on the Annotate-ipedia!

Note: The only thing that I’ve seen that is related to this is Trailfire, although it’s not exactly what is needed because it let’s users add notes to whole pages only, not to words or paragraphs within pages. (Still, it’s a nice way to create a web trail across different sites that you like, e.g. your 5 favourite blog postings about twitter.)

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