1 Matching Annotations
- May 2015
Most of these difficulties would be addressed by the fundamental characteristics of a digital annotation system. The digital annotation system would automatically store and link annotations and sources with machine tidiness. As noted above, it is more than likely in a distributed system that annotations will be stored separately from the sources to which they refer. However, unlike the real-world equivalents, they would automatically hold information that links them effectively to the associated source. However, it is incumbent upon that system to display a clear association between annotation and source. But the potentially limitless capacity of an electronic writing space, indeed one that expands its viewing size to the later reader commensurate with the size of text inserted, would easily resolve the analogue annotator's problem of insufficient writing space. Moreover, it is worth taking into consideration the change that such expanded capacity may have upon the behaviour of annotators; an uncramped writing space may equally 'uncramp' their style and encourage them to be more expansive and, possibly, more informative. Equally important, there is no limit upon subsequent annotations relating to the original source or, for that matter, to the initial annotation. Clearly an example where the distributed nature of digital annotation presents a clear advantage. Even a clearer annotation generally still lacks all or some of the following: an author, or author status, a date or time, and where the annotation relies on other text or supporting evidence, (e.g. "This contradicts his view in Chapter 3"), it may have no clear direct reference either. A further complication might be the annotations, (or even counter-annotations) of another anonymous party. It is worth remarking that a digital system would be able to record the date and time of the annotation action, the source, and give some indication of the person who initiated the marking. If it were deemed unacceptable in certain systems, the annotation could be rejected as giving inadequate content. Once again the advantage of virtually unlimited writing space would allow the annotator to quote, if desired, the text to which (s)he refers elsewhere; alternatively the functionality that permits the annotator to highlight a source could also be adapted to permit the highlighting of a reference item for inclusion in the annotation body as a hypertext link. Some, but not necessarily all of the analogue difficulties may have been encountered; but they all serve to illustrate the difficulties that arise the moment annotations cease only to be read by their original author. It is outside that limited context that we largely need to consider annotations in the distributed digital environment. Picking up on this aspect, we might therefore consider the challenge posed by any system of annotation that intends to have an audience of greater than one, and, conceivably of scores or hundreds of annotators and annotation readers. Irrespective of their number, what makes such multiple annotations unreliable is one's ignorance of the kind of person who made the annotation: expert? amateur? joker? authority? Who wrote the annotation probably ranks as more important than any other undisclosed information about it. In this regard an annotator is no different from an author or writer of papers. Understanding the authority with which an annotation is made can be a key determinant in users' behaviour when accessing annotations across a distributed system.
refs to role of UX in enabling digital annot to best "handwritten annots"