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Revisiting at I Annotate 2017

I'm looking forward to hacking on web and epub annotation at the #ianno17 Hack Day. I won't be at the I Annotate 2017 conference per se but will be curious to see what comes out of the annual conference.

I continue to have high hopes for digital annotations, both on the Web and in non-web digital contexts. I have used Hypothesis on and off since Oct 2013. My experiences so far:

  • I like the ability to highlight and comment on very granular sections of articles for comment, something the annotation tool makes easy to do. I appreciate being able to share annotation/highlight with others (on Twitter or Facebook), though I'm pretty sure most people who bother to click on the links might wonder "what's this" when they click on the link. A small user request: should allow a user to better customize the Facebook preview image for the annotation.
  • I've enjoyed using for code review on top of GitHub. (Exactly how complements the extensive code-commenting functionality in GitHub might be worth a future blog post.)

My Plans for Hack Day

Python wrapper for

This week, I plan to revisit rdhyee/hypothesisapi: A Python wrapper for the nascent web API to update or abandon it in favor of new developments. (For example, I should look at kshaffer/pypothesis: Python scripts for interacting with the API.)

Epubs + annotations

I want to figure out the state of art for epubs and annotations. I'm happy to see the announcement of a partnership to bring open annotation to eBooks from March 2017. I'd definitely like to figure out how to annotate epubs (e.g., Oral Literature in Africa (at or Moby Dick). The best approach is probably for me to wait until summer at which time we'll see the fruits of the partnership:

Together, our goal is to complete a working integration of Hypothesis with both EPUB frameworks by Summer 2017. NYU plans to deploy the ReadiumJS implementation in the NYU Press Enhanced Networked Monographs site as a first use case. Based on lessons learned in the NYU deployment, we expect to see wider integration of annotation capabilities in eBooks as EPUB uptake continues to grow.

In the meantime, I can catch up on the current state of futurepress/epub.js: Enhanced eBooks in the browser., grok Epub CFI Updates, and relearn how to parse epubs using Python (e.g., rdhyee/epub_avant_garde: an experiment to apply ideas from to arbitrary epubs).

Role of page owners

I plan to check in on what's going on with efforts at to involve owners in page annotations:

In the past months we launched a small research initiative to gather different points of view about website publishers and authors consent to annotation. Our goal was to identify different paths forward taking into account the perspectives of publishers, engineers, developers and people working on abuse and harassment issues. We have published a first summary of our discussion on our blog post about involving page owners in annotation.

I was reminded of these efforts after reading that Audrey Watters had blocked annotation services like and genius from her domains:

In the spirit of communal conversation, I threw in my two cents:

Have there been any serious exploration of easy opt-out mechanisms for domain owners? Something like robots.txt for annotation tools?

{ 1 } Comments

  1. Raymond Yee | May 5, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    A one-paragraph articulation by Doug Schepers on the potential danger of abuse via annotations:

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  1. […] anticipation of #ianno17 Hack Day, I wrote about my plans for the event, one of which was to revisit my own Python wrapper for the nascent web […]

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