Register now for I Annotate 2017

Join us for I Annotate 2017, the fifth annual gathering dedicated to advancing digital annotation practices and technologies. With events in San Francisco during 3-6 May, I Annotate will continue to expand the annotation community to include more participants from education, journalism, publishing, research, science, and technology, focusing on themes of fact checking, user engagement, and digital literacy.

Welcome Heather Staines, Director of Partnerships

I couldn’t be more thrilled to join the Hypothesis team as Director of Partnerships. As I wrote in my initial reachout to Hypothesis, sometimes you feel as if you have been preparing for something your entire life, as if there was a plan that you were aware of only subconsciously. My long winding road through scholarly content, ed tech, and standards finally makes sense: Hypothesis was the plan!

Our millionth annotation

It was getting close to midnight and the Hypothesis team was watching the counter of total annotations tick up: 999,646…999,752…999,845…by 10:37pm Pacific Time it was 999,959 and we knew we’d reach one million annotations that night. People all over the world were busy taking notes using Hypothesis—students, journalists, researchers, scientists, scholars—most without knowing that our team and the annotation community on social media were rooting for their work. Countdown tweets for a #millionannotations were starting to gather an audience. Who would add the millionth annotation?

Counting down to a million annotations

By the end of today, someone will make the one-millionth Hypothesis annotation.

Who will it be? Will they be factchecking a news article? Linking crucial information to a scientific study? Unpacking a short story with other students? Collecting data for new research? We are about to find out!

Who says neuroscientists don’t need more brains? Annotation with SciBot

You might think that neuroscientists already have enough brains, but apparently not. Over 100 neuroscientists attending the recent annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SFN), took part in an annotation challenge: modifying scientific papers to add simple references that automatically generate and attach Hypothesis annotations, filled with key related information. To sweeten the pot, our friends at Gigascience gave researchers who annotated their own papers their very own brain hats.

But handing out brains is not just a conference gimmick. Thanks to our colleagues at the Neuroscience Information Framework (NIF), Hypothesis was once again featured at SFN, the largest gathering of neuroscientists in the world, attended by well over 30,000 people in San Diego Nov 12-16, 2016. The annotation challenge at SFN was a demonstration of a much larger collaboration with NIF: to increase rigor and reproducibility in neuroscience by using the NIF’s new SciBot service to annotate publications automatically with links to related materials and tools that researchers use in scientific studies.

A Hypothesis-powered toolkit for fact checkers

In Annotating the wild west of information flow we sketched one of the ways annotation can help combat the plague of fake news. The approach we imagine there — an annotation-powered toolkit that supports an emerging standard for fact checking — remains a thought experiment. But journalists aren’t the only ones who need to master the critical thinking skills and digital literacies required of fact-checkers. These skills and literacies are now required of everyone, and not only to gauge the credibility of news. We all are fishing in seas of information for facts to support evidence-based professional practices.

How do we teach people to fish? Hypothesis is collaborating with one effort to do that. The Digital Polarization Initiative (Digipo) is a template for a college course that will lead students through exercises to analyze and fact-check news stories. The pedagogical approach, described here by project leader Mike Caulfield, is evolving. In parallel we’ve been evolving a toolkit to help students research and organize the raw evidence for the analyses they’ll be asked to produce. Annotation is a key component of the toolkit, which is implemented as a Chrome extension that works closely with Hypothesis.

Football Leaks: Annotations and the Biggest Leak in Sports

Publications around the world are now reporting on what people are calling “the largest leak in the history of sport”: over 18 million documents that reveal the shadowy financial practices of some of Europe’s leading professional soccer stars. More than 60 journalists working in twelve countries developed the #footballleaks stories, working within European Investigative Collaborations (EIC), a new network designed to facilitate multi-organization investigations in a short time, unconstrained by geographical boundaries. Included among the member organizations of EIC are Der Spiegel, Le Soir, El Mundo, Newsweek Serbia, Mediapart, Politiken and L’Espresso.

To help uncover the larger stories buried in millions of documents, some #footballleaks journalists used Hypothesis to create and share annotations, highlighting key findings and making connections that benefit the whole team. To ensure the privacy of their work, EIC installed a dedicated annotation server with added security measures that can be used in future investigations.

Introducing Search and Profiles

Up until now, Hypothesis users have been able to annotate, reply to, and read through annotations. These basic capabilities have generated an explosion of activity: as of yesterday, our community has created a total of 882,053 annotations!

With this release we’re introducing two key features to help you navigate this new layer of information spreading across the web: Search now makes it easy to filter all annotations by keyword, tag, group, or linked page. Profiles finally provide a true home for users and groups—both for themselves, and for others that want to explore their annotations.

Marketing Hypothesis

I’m incredibly excited—and deeply honored—to be joining the team at Hypothesis, where I’ll be leading marketing:

My first—very short—story for Hypothesis is about how the idea of a common platform for digital annotation first captured my imagination, embodied in the idea of a personal notebook. My notebook links to all the places online where I engage, but lives with me. Instead of being scattered across the world, my collected notes and references would be in just one place where I could always find them, flip through my pages, add new thinking, and—most powerfully of all—share and connect with other people. I started with this simple story, but Hypothesis and the people it connects are already telling many stories, with so many more to come.