Annotated ‘What I Really Want Is Someone Rolling Around in the Text’ by Sam Anderson (
The practice, back then, was surprisingly social — people would mark up books for one another as gifts, or give pointedly annotated novels to potential lovers. 
This could be an interesting gift idea. Definitely shows someone that you were actively thinking about them for extended lengths of time while they were away.

It’s also sort of founding example for the idea of social annotation given that most prior annotation was for personal use. (Though Owen Gingerich has shown that early annotations were copied from book to book and early scribes added annotations to texts for readers as well.)

It also demonstrates the idea of proof of work (in this case love “work”), which is part of the reason that social annotation in an educational setting using tools like is worthwhile. Students are indicating (via social signaling) to a teacher that they’ve read and actively engaged with the course material.

Of course, unlike the example, they’re not necessarily showing “true love” of the material!

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Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, IndieWeb, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

27 thoughts on “”

  1. Forget PoW. Annotations have intrinsic value. Unlike gold, they are fungible. As they get shared, incorporated in, referenced by others, from other context their value increase, because they connect people with shared interests. This value flow is an Increasing Sum Game for All.


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