Hypothesis for scientific research

Hypothesis is enjoying robust use in the sciences: in STEM education (e.g., Science in the Classroom), as a tool for scientists to critique reporting of science in the popular press (e.g., Climate Feedback), for journal clubs and by individual researchers engaging in public or private group discussions on scientific papers. Some of these uses are conversational, as Hypothesis originally envisioned: people ask questions, get answers, make comments. Other annotations are more formal and authoritative; experts extract structured knowledge from the literature, annotate gene sequences with biological information or supply clarifying information to published works.

Annotating TV news

The Internet Archive’s TV News Archive is a remarkable resource that provides video clips of TV news shows since 2009, text-searchable by means of their closed captions. Annotation of that caption text enables anyone to zoom in on specific moments and language in the TV timeline, bookmark it, and start a conversation linked to text and video. It’s a great way to use TV news as a primary source in education, journalism, and research.

A partnership to bring open annotation to eBooks

Today we are announcing a partnership to bring open, collaborative, cross-platform annotation to eBooks. Together with NYU Libraries, NYU Press, Evident Point, the Readium Foundation and the EPUBjs project, Hypothesis will be working to bring annotation to EPUB, the standard format for digital books.

Digital books represent an enormous class of content which at present cannot be collaboratively annotated with others. Combined with the recent work that the W3C has done to standardize annotation, this represents an essential next step in bringing a high quality open annotation implementation to books everywhere.

Showing orphaned annotations

Reuniting annotations with their targets in real time is core to the recently standardized web annotation model. This is fundamental to web annotation’s key benefits: that annotations lay over the web, can enable the collaborative annotation of documents like PDFs, can be searched and discovered across documents and websites, and, importantly, are under users’ control instead of publishers’. Learn how Hypothesis’ ensures annotators can find annotations that have become unanchored to content.

Esther Dyson to keynote I Annotate 2017

We are excited and honored to announce that digital pioneer Esther Dyson will deliver the opening keynote at I Annotate this year in San Francisco on Thursday morning, May 4, 2017.

Across her multifaceted career, Dyson has engaged deeply in the fields where annotation thrives, including education, journalism, publishing, research, science, and technology. This year’s I Annotate themes of fact checking, digital literacy, and user engagement connect directly to her experience. “I’m especially excited to speak at I Annotate,” says Dyson, “I started my career as a fact-checker for Forbes magazine and have a longtime passion both for the truth and for freedom of speech.” Dyson was also an early investor in Flickr, which pioneered web based image annotation, and social tagging company Del.icio.us, which give her an intimate familiarity with the technical goals and user benefits that an interoperable annotation paradigm can bring.

Annotation is now a web standard

Many have tried over the years to bring us web annotations. The lack of standards has been one of the key things holding these efforts back– a need we highlighted in the first of our 12 original principles back in 2013 and have been working towards ever since.

Yesterday, on February 23, things took a giant leap forward when the W3C, the standards body for the Web, standardized annotation.

Twenty four years after Marc Andreessen first built collaborative annotation into Mosaic and tested it on a few “guinea pigs” before turning it off, annotations have finally become first-class citizens of the web.

Cloudflare security vulnerability: our response

This morning we have been made aware of a security vulnerability affecting Cloudflare, a major internet infrastructure company and our Content Delivery Network (CDN) provider.

All traffic to Hypothesis passes through Cloudflare’s servers in order to improve the performance and security of our service. Unfortunately, it appears that a bug in Cloudflare’s software may have leaked some traffic that should have been private into the pages it served for other customers’ sites. Put simply: it’s possible that communications that should have been private between our users and Hypothesis were not.

At the moment we have no evidence to suggest that any Hypothesis user’s private data was leaked as part of this vulnerability, but we are taking steps to minimise the risks posed by any possible disclosure.

Opening Meta

Yesterday, the scholarly communication + AI startup Meta signed an agreement to be acquired by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI). Aside from the initial news a few weeks ago and Joe Esposito’s article in the Scholarly Kitchen, I’ve seen few people remark on it.

But it’s a big deal.

A serious piece of scholarly infrastructure is being made open, free and effectively non-profit. Meta has built a cutting edge system to mine scholarly papers new and old, and allow the data to be employed in diverse ways–predicting discoveries before they’re made, projecting the future impact of papers just hours old, and unlocking the potential for innumerable applications applying computation at scale across scientific literature. In what must have taken extraordinary patience, persistence and a lot of finesse, they managed to secure access to some of the most strategic closed content in the scholarly world.

Hypothesis: Meeting the Audrey Test for educational technology

Anyone working on or with educational technology should take the work of Audrey Watters—widely known as the “Cassandra” of #edtech—very seriously. If your work withers under Audrey’s critical gaze, you’ve got more work to do. In that spirit, I wanted to hold Hypothesis up to the kind of scrutiny that Audrey might provide.

Back in 2012, Audrey posted “The Audrey Test”: Or, What Should Every Techie Know About Education? on her must-read Hack Education blog. The Audrey Test includes a short list of questions that she suggests every #edtech project, product, or company should answer in order to meet the high expectations we should all hold when we are working on educational tools that engage in what we should think of as “high stakes environments with other people’s children.”

How does Hypothesis fare in The Audrey Test?

Annotating all Knowledge: Adventures in Interoperability

The Annotating All Knowledge Coalition was founded as a forum for accelerating the development of a pervasive interoperable annotation layer across all scholarly works. Figuring out what, exactly, an interoperable annotation layer means was one of the first goals of the coalition. We took the first steps towards defining what an interoperable layer looks like and how it should operate at our Face to Face meetings at FORCE2016 and I Annotate. So what are the next steps?

Participants in both events felt strongly that the best way to move forward was to “Just do it”, that is, identify a use case where you have a need to share annotations across: tools, content, platforms, workflows.