Working with Wikipedia articles

Hypothesis is exploring the use of on-line annotation to provide review and enhancement of Wikipedia articles. The Neuroscience Wiki Project encourages the neuroscience community to improve the accuracy and robustness of neuroscience articles by directly editing Wikipedia.  While that approach is still best, many researchers may not have time or be unsure of proper protocols … Continued

Introducing web-based annotation to neuroscience

For as long as we have produced scholarly works, we have annotated them.  From scribbles in the margin, to underlines and highlights, to learned commentary providing additional information, academics routinely add knowledge to scholarly output.  But scholarly works are no longer in scrolls or even on paper, they are on web pages.  So shouldn’t our … Continued

Really, You Can Annotate Anything

Well, any text, that is. Hypothesis is working with various partners on image and video annotation, but this blog is about the range of texts that you can annotate using the app. For a long time, I’ve limited my pitch to teachers, telling them that they could collaboratively annotate readings with their students if the texts were … Continued

Back to School with Annotation: 10 Ways to Annotate with Students

It’s back-to-school season and I find myself once again encouraging teachers to discuss course readings with their students using collaborative web annotation technologies like Hypothesis. Though relatively new to Hypothesis, I’ve been making this pitch for a few years now, but in conversations with educators of late I’ve come to realize that we often mean different … Continued

Do-it-yourself anchoring and the evolution of the Hypothesis toolkit

Here’s a picture of a web page with two annotations made using Hypothesis. If you’re familiar with our tool, you’ll notice that these highlights are unusual. Normally they’re yellow, here they’re gray and green. Another difference: hovering over an annotation’s highlight displays its text in a tooltip. Opening the Hypothesis sidebar reveals the source of … Continued

Using Atom feeds to receive Hypothesis notifications in Slack

Update: We have since implemented RSS and that turns out to be a better solution than Atom for Slack integration. To use it, just change stream.atom to stream.rss in the examples here. At Hypothesis we’ve recently started using Slack for team communication. We’ve also recently spruced up our Atom feed. Let’s look at how you … Continued

Fund: On-Demand Web Archiving Completion

Ilya Kreymer has completed the requirements for the On-Demand Web Archiving project funded via the Open Annotation Fund! You can read his write-up of the project below (re-posted from the blog): Introducing Browsertrix The final result of the On-Demand Web Archiving Project is the creation of a new tool called Browsertrix, designed to automate web archiving … Continued

Integrating Hypothesis using Ajax and CORS

We’ve recently added two ways to integrate Hypothesis with other systems: CORS (Cross-Origin Resource Sharing) and Atom. We’ll explore what you can do with CORS here, and with Atom feeds in another post. It’s long been possible to embed Hypothesis in an iframe on a web page. On this page you can see two examples. The first … Continued

Fund: Scaling Up Content Analysis

We’re excited to announce our third project funded via the Open Annotation Fund of $9000 for Text Thresher to develop an Annotator Content Analysis system. Read more about the project from their announcement post included below:   The Text Thresher team and I are excited to announce that we have joined forces with and … Continued

Annotation Summit at the New York Times

Together with the Poynter Institute, and with funding from the Knight Foundation and Craigconnects, Hypothesis hosted an “Annotation Summit” at The New York Times Building last week. The event brought together approximately fifty technologists, publishers, and writers from a range of publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The LA Times, the New … Continued

Introducing for Education

We have all seized the white perimeter as our own and reached for a pen if only to show we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages; we pressed a thought into the wayside, planted an impression along the verge. I’ve always been a compulsive annotator, beginning in middle school when I diligently … Continued

Farewell to bookmarklets

This post originated as in the voice of Jon Udell, not the voice of Hypothesis. I posted it here in part to explore how Hypothesis can attach annotations to documents that are the same or similar. Dan Whaley made some annotations to the WordPress preview here that reflect the voice of Hypothesis. Now what? … Continued

Fund: On-Demand Web Archiving of Annotated Pages

We’re excited to announce our second project funded via the Open Annotation Fund of $3000 for Ilya Kreymer to develop an API of On-Demand Web Archiving for Annotated Pages. The funded proposal is included below: Summary Whenever a web page changes or disappears, annotations on the page may no longer be viewable, unless the original … Continued

I Annotate Hack Days

I Annotate is a two day collaborative conversation centered around annotation on April 23 – 24th in San Francisco. After all that inspiration, we’re confident attendees will want to code something! So, we’ve added two more days to the event for some heads down coding time. We’re also inviting anyone who’s got an annotation project—no … Continued

Synchronizing annotations between local and remote PDFs

People are sometimes surprised to learn that can annotate PDFs. They’re even more surprised when they learn you can annotate a local copy of a PDF in a way that synchronizes with another local copy and/or with a web copy of the same PDF. Here’s a browser with a local PDF in one tab … Continued

Announcing Anno.Fund

In July 2014, Hypothesis launched the Open Annotation Fund to provide financial support to open source web annotation projects. Since the launch, there’s been one project completed, and a handful of submissions that are soon to be funded. However, we want more. The fund still contains more than $40,000 that can go towards supporting the … Continued

Welcoming Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond joined the team here at Hypothesis this month. Before joining Hypothesis Sean was a developer and documentation and technical training lead on the CKAN project at Open Knowledge – empowering citizens by creating and promoting the open source platform for open data. Previously Sean was lead developer for Find Me, an early iPad … Continued

Meet Via

We’ve streamlined adding your thoughts to the Web. Our new home page features a field for pasting in any URL and annotating it. We call this system Via. Via simplifies the sharing and creation of annotations, highlights, and comments without the need of a browser extension or bookmarklet. Once you’ve left an annotation on a … Continued

Introducing Math

We are creating an annotation technology that can be used to enrich human knowledge. Today we take another step forward: now supports math typesetting. You can now place beautifully formatted equations and mathematical symbols into annotations. To use math in your annotations, simply enclose supported LaTeX commands within enclosing \( …. \) for inline … Continued

Back from Budapest headed to Hungary this January for some seasonal face-to-face time with our team. Tackling the problem of Web Annotation remotely works great most of the year. These face-to-face meetings give us a chance to understand more about our team than our tech. We focused on moving off our fork of Annotator 1.2.6. We achieved … Continued

Helmsley Trust Supports Open Annotation in Biomedical Research

The Project together with partners at the Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF) and ORCID has been awarded a 3-year, $2.1M grant by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust to bring annotation to biomedicine. Web annotations, a new standard for digital notes on top of an existing online resource, are proving transformative in … Continued

Climate Annotation Workshop – December 18th & 19th aims to organize the community of climate scientists to annotate online media and provide readers and authors with in-situ feedback about the scientific credibility of information. Our very own Dan Whaley will be speaking at the Climate Feedback workshop on December 18th @ 6:30 pm. The following morning, will be hosting a morning … Continued

Annotations at the W3C

For a while now, a dedicated group of individuals has been working towards a web annotation standard– the idea being that annotation is something that will be fundamental to the future of web and should be interoperable, and eventually incorporated into browsers. This effort began first as two separate groups, Annotation Ontology and Open Annotation … Continued


As of today, we’re making our general purpose annotator available from our homepage. If you use the Chrome browser, you can download and install it as an extension. An equivalent extension for Firefox is coming shortly. The annotator allows you to bring note-taking and conversation capabilities to any page on the web. The application has … Continued

Open Annotation RDFa using JSON

The Open Annotation Core Data Model is something we’re keen to include in future releases. We’re exploring using it via JSON-LD natively in AnnotatorJS. Along the way, we’re experimenting and growing our understanding of the specification. RDFa allows us to mix the Open Annotation Core Data Model into existing HTML markup. In an effort … Continued

Supporting Open Annotation

In its mission to connect the world’s knowledge and thoughts, the solution pursues is a web-wide mechanism to create, share and discover annotations. One of our principal steps towards this end is providing a browser add-on that works with our annotation server, enabling people to read others’ annotations on any web page they visit, and to … Continued

Older browser support in Annotator

Bill Hunt is a developer with the OpenGov Foundation, his article below is cross-posted from there. The Annotator Problem: New Tech in Older Web Browsers A few months ago, The OpenGov Foundation was awarded a grant from’ Open Annotation Fund to add cross-browser support for Annotator, the tool powering inline annotation on government policy … Continued

Let’s get building!

This week saw Nick Stenning’s first week at Nick previously worked at Open Knowledge, where along with Aron Carroll and Rufus Pollock he was one of the authors of the open-source Annotator library we use in Nick is joining us to continue what he started with Annotator in 2008, and will be helping … Continued

Welcoming Aron Carroll

Earlier this summer Aron Carroll joined the team here at Hypothesis. That makes this post a little overdue, but no less enthusiastic. Aron has a solid history of interests and work extremely relevant to our team here and the broader annotation community. Recently, Aron worked at Readmill fine tuning their user experience through data-driven improvements … Continued

Annotating educational resources

On June 9-10, the Monterey Institute for Technology and Education (MITE),, and Lumen Learning convened a 2-day summit focused on the annotation of open educational resources (OER). The meeting’s principal organizer was Ahrash Bissell of MITE. Education is a compelling environment for annotation because the practice of annotation in educational settings has value for … Continued

Award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Project is pleased to announce an award for $752,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to investigate the use of annotation in humanities and social science scholarship over a two year period. Our partners in this grant include Michigan Publishing at the University of Michigan; Project MUSE at the Johns Hopkins University; Project … Continued

Peer Review and Annotation

On May 15-16, 2014, approximately 60 attendees from AAAS and arXiv to the W3C joined at an Alfred P. Sloan funded meeting at the American Geophysical Union (AGU) offices in Washington DC to explore new models of peer review and post-publication commentary in the sciences. As background, Alfred P. Sloan provided support and … Continued

Fund: Cross-browser support

We are very proud to announce the first award under our Open Annotation Fund of $7500 to the Open Gov Foundation for work by Chris Birk and Bill Hunt for cross-browser support in Annotator. Their funded proposal is included below: Summary The OpenGov Foundation is dedicated to developing and deploying technologies that support every citizen’s … Continued

An Open Annotation Fund

Today we are formally announcing the availability of a $50k USD fund for Open Annotation software projects. Overview: Interest in annotation is making big strides. Specifically Open Annotation, the web-based, implementation of an interoperable, standards-based annotation paradigm that promises to become a new layer over human knowledge. In just a few short years a worldwide … Continued

Welcoming Benjamin Young

This Monday we added Benjamin Young to the team as Developer Advocate. Developer Advocacy is a key role in spreading knowledge and know-how among developers, encouraging use of world changing ideas, and generally banging the drum about the greatness of something. We believe the Web is super great, and it could be even better … Continued

I Annotate 2014, reprised. hosted the second I Annotate meeting in San Francisco from April 3-6, and we think it was a tremendous success. I Annotate brings together the worldwide annotation community to share developments, insights, challenges, and forge new connections. This year there was a marked sense of progress from last year, with a noticeable move from … Continued

Major award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation is pleased to announce a major award from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to advance “Open, Digital Annotation for Scholarly Communication.” The award will support work with our partners, the American Geophysical Union (AGU), which is international in scope; eLife Sciences, an open access journal jointly funded by the Max Plank Society, the Howard … Continued

Open Book 2014

This weekend, a group of about 50 developers met at the historic NY Public Library for the Open Book 2014 Hackathon with the goal of imagining a new future of digital books, as well as advancing the open source and open API building blocks needed for diverse ecosystems of authors, designers, developers, publishers, libraries, booksellers, … Continued

Books in Browsers IV

Amidst the temple-like setting of the Internet Archive, and the Frankfurt Book Fair, with the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, swissnex San Francisco, and many sponsors, held the fourth edition of Books in Browsers, the leading summit for the cutting edge of innovation in publishing. Over 200 attendees gathered to hear over … Continued

Open Ebooks

Digital publishing is one of the most exciting and most depressing areas on the web. “Exciting” because we are witnessing the dawn of a revolution in communications, and “depressing” because the revolution is too often proprietary. At, we want the revolution to be open. My goal this summer was to enable open annotation in … Continued

Re-Engineering Government

During a time of intense political change and government dysfunction, a focus on open government– bringing transparency to government affairs and information, while facilitating engagement by citizenry in the governing process– is on everyone’s mind. On October 4, with the federal government in full shutdown mode, a hardy band of open government advocates, public officials … Continued

A Grant from the Knight Foundation

This is a cross-posting of an article that first appeared at the Knight Foundation Blog. Journalism is moving from something that a small number of professionals perform to something that citizens and journalists can collaborate on. The Internet has played the central role in enabling this trend, and emerging technologies can accelerate it. Open annotation, … Continued

Annotating the law

This last week, coordinated our second “tiger team,” convening communities likely to have a strong interest in open annotation, interaction, and new forms of access. Our first tiger team was on journalism; our most recent event, on annotation and the law, was co-hosted by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. … Continued

Q2 Update

2013 has been an exciting year so far. We last sent out news in January. Moving forward we’ll be providing quarterly updates. Launch time We are working on a few remaining features necessary before we begin a gradual release process this fall. Beginning in September we’ll be testing annotation in a number of college classrooms … Continued

Annotating the news

The desire to engage in a conversation – and to debate – is central to human experience. At, we’re trying to bring that capability to the web. We realize that how and what we annotate is likely to be quite different depending on the subject and the material: journalism, policy, law, scholarly publishing, and … Continued

501.c3 Determination has received its official US IRS 501.c3 letter of determination, meaning we can enjoy tax-exempt status as a US non-profit corporation. While it’s an administrative detail in support of our larger strategy, it’s a substantial milestone for us and means that we can now accept funds directly without the need for the services of … Continued

Guidance for Web Publishers lets you annotate the Web. However, some things work better if we know just a little bit more about the web resource that you are annotating. For example, imagine you are annotating the second page of a New York Times article. You probably want to see your annotation when you are looking at the … Continued

Cross Format Annotation

In 1960 I had a vision of a world-wide system of electronic publishing, anarchic and populist, where anyone could publish anything and anyone could read it. (So far, sounds like the web.) But my approach is about literary depth– including side-by-side intercomparison, annotation, and a unique copyright proposal. I now call this “deep electronic literature” … Continued

Epub.js: Bringing Open Annotation to Books

Why should we annotate books? Here’s a short story to illustrate: Once upon a time, there were two notable ink-makers, Amaz and Applet (there were others of course, but those two were the most important ink makers of the day). Both made special inks whose writing could only be read by people who subscribed to … Continued

Fuzzy anchoring

Overview A large part of the unique potential of annotation comes from its ability to point inside media to specific places. Because of this, we must be able to reliably reference these specific locations in web resources, beginning with text. Hypertext links generally point to the top of documents and other web-connected media, which is … Continued

I Annotate 2013: Our Take

Last week, about 100 technologists, hackers, publishers, scientists, scholars and librarians from around the world gathered at Fort Mason in San Francisco, CA for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded I Annotate conference. The conference, hosted by, focused on the twin objectives of showcasing progress in the annotation toolbox and exploring how to jumpstart … Continued

Designers and Geeks

Recently we had the opportunity to present to Joe Robinson’s excellent Designers and Geeks series, which we gladly accepted. Several hundred local designers gathered this last Thursday at Yelp, and they graciously videoed the presentation.

I Annotate: A Workshop.

After two decades of progress in infrastructure and web technologies, we believe the time is finally at hand to realize the widespread annotation of human knowledge. On a recent call a suggestion was made to bring together people building annotation solutions with those that ultimately will use them. The obvious sensibility of that idea led … Continued

Embedded Annotations

One of the key features of annotation is the ability to link not only to the top of a document, but to passages within it. We can think of an annotation as an arrow with a payload, pointing at a target. The target in this analogy is a piece of text at a certain point … Continued

Welcoming Peter Brantley

As moves from an early concept to a functional prototype and ultimately to a deployed application, it is essential that we organize ourselves to understand the primary communities of interest that we’re targeting. Of these, the scholarly community (scholars, scientists, journals, publishers and their various institutions) is certainly the most important. Members of this … Continued

2012 End of Year Update

Friends of, While we’ve been fairly regular in our code contributions on github, in our tweets and more recently on our blog, we’re past due for an outbound communication to everyone who’s supported us over the last year and is curious about the state of activity here. A lot happened in 2012. We secured … Continued

Our Interface

Our project aims to allow the collaborative evaluation of information on the web. Our entry point is a website annotation tool. At this stage, there are a few goals for the interface. We must make it easy to annotate text. Just highlight the text you would like to annotate, and click on the pen icon … Continued

Threading. When and why.

To encourage true conversation, people must be able to discuss annotations as well as creating new ones. We tested prototypes of several different options, and settled on a threaded discussion approach, similar to that used by Reddit, Hacker News and other sites. We’re well aware that the choice between threaded and unthreaded discussion is a … Continued

Shuttleworth Fellowship has just been awarded a Shuttleworth Fellowship for the 2013 year. Though the fellowship is technically awarded to an individual, the considerable funding it provides will help us bring on additional folks to deliver a fully functioning prototype and begin launching within early communities of interest by the end of this next year. The … Continued

An Open Letter to Marc Andreessen and Rap Genius

When I got up this morning, I saw the remarkable news that VC firm Andreessen-Horowitz had announced a $15M investment in rap music annotation site Rap Genius. Congratulations to the team. I’m a huge fan of Rap Genius, and really look forward to seeing where they’ll take this next. (Plus, it’s always great to close … Continued

Soul searching

We’ve been busy. In particular we’ve been thinking hard about the multitude of design decisions that inevitably present themselves in a project like this. How do we build an experience capable of showing hundreds or thousands of annotations on a page simply and elegantly. How do we create functionality that’s there when you want it, … Continued

Why we do what we do

Recently we became aware of an opportunity to join ReadyForce’s Hacker Tour 2012 of top US Computer Science and Engineering schools, as they reach out to graduating students interested in opportunities with startups.  We were offered a position as one of two non-profits on the tour, and we gladly accepted. As we begin to bring … Continued

New Scientist covers fact-checking

Jim Giles has written perhaps the best piece yet on the landscape of fact-checking in a New Scientist piece that published today (archival PDF). He details a range of efforts, both editorial and automated, current and proposed, methodically addressing both the promise as well as the challenges and obvious questions in a remarkably balanced way. It’s … Continued


We’re now the proud recipient of a $525k grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Digital Information Technology program. We were first approached by Josh Greenberg, the program director, last fall during our Kickstarter funding drive. Later that year, they provided an initial $20k grant for our Reputation Modeling Workshop this past February. After the … Continued

Reimagining peer-review

Late last year I was approached by Hilmar Lapp at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center to keynote their iEvoBio conference in Ottawa this July, immediately following the historic Evolution 2012 conference also in Ottawa this year – the “First Joint Congress on Evolutionary Biology.” I was impressed by the Open Source Commitment that captures the central … Continued