Thanks to all who joined the session on @hypothes_is for @SDCCD DE week!— Mary Klann, PhD (@mcklann) April 22, 2021
My slides from the workshop are available here: https://t.co/072Ns7JgKH. (Hypothesis enabled for annotation!)
(All conversations I've been having lately about teaching eventually lead to #ungrading.) pic.twitter.com/r9NpSQ7Vub
My take is that the web could feel warmer and more lively than it is. Visiting a webpage could feel a little more like visiting a park and watching the world go by. Visiting my homepage could feel just a tiny bit like stopping by my home. And so to celebrate my blogging streak reaching one year, this week, I’m adding a proof of concept to my blog, something I’m provisionally calling Social Attention.
If somebody else selects some text, it’ll be highlighted for you. ❧
Suddenly social annotation has taken an interesting twist. @Hypothes_is better watch out! 😉
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:03AM
How often have you been on the phone with a friend, trying to describe how to get somewhere online? Okay go to Amazon. Okay type in “whatever”. Okay, it’s the third one down for me…
This is ridiculous!
What if, instead, you both went to the website and then you could just say: follow me. ❧
There are definitely some great use cases for this.
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:05AM
A status emoji will appear in the top right corner of your browser. If it’s smiling, there are other people on the site right now too. ❧
This is pretty cool looking. I’ll have to add it as an example to my list: Social Reading User Interface for Discovery.
We definitely need more things like this on the web.
It makes me wish the Reading.am indicator were there without needing to click on it.
I wonder how this sort of activity might be built into social readers as well?
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:13AM
If I’m in a meeting, I should be able to share a link in the chat to a particular post on my blog, then select the paragraph I’m talking about and have it highlighted for everyone. Well, now I can. ❧
And you could go a few feet farther if you added [fragment](https://indieweb.org/fragmention) support to the site, then the browser would also autoscroll to that part. Then you could add a confetti cannon to the system and have the page rain down confetti when more than three people have highlighted the same section!
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:18AM
I want the patina of fingerprints, the quiet and comfortable background hum of a library. ❧
A great thing to want on a website! A tiny hint of phatic interaction amongst internet denizens.
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:20AM
What I’d like more of is a social web that sits between these two extremes, something with a small town feel. So you can see people are around, and you can give directions and a friendly nod, but there’s no need to stop and chat, and it’s not in your face. It’s what I’ve talked about before as social peripheral vision (that post is about why it should be build into the OS). ❧
I love the idea of social peripheral vision online.
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:22AM
streak: New posts for 52 consecutive weeks. ❧
It’s kind of cool that he’s got a streak counter for his posts.
Annotated on March 28, 2021 at 10:24AM
I was reminded today that one can subscribe to an RSS/ATOM feed of annotations on their site (or any site for that matter) using the feed format
https://hypothes.is/stream.rss?wildcard_uri=https://www.example.org/* and replacing the example.org URL with the desired one. Nota bene: the /* at the end makes the query a wildcard to find anything on your site. If you leave it off you’ll only get the annotations on your homepage.
To go a step further, one can also use this scheme to get a feed of @mentions of their Hypothes.is username too. If I’m not mistaken, based on some preliminary tests, this method should work for finding
username both with and without the
@ being included.
These are a few interesting tidbits for those who are using Hypothes.is not only for the social annotation functionality, but as a social media site or dovetailing it with their own websites and related workflows.
Reviewing over some notes, I’m glad I took a moment to annotate the context in which I made my annotations, which are very meta with respect to that context. Others’ annotations were obviously from the context of educators looking at Hughes’ work from the perspective of teachers looking back at an earlier time.
I’ve just gone back and not only re-read the poem, but read through and responded to some of the other annotations asynchronously. The majority of today’s annotations were made synchronously during the session. Others reading and interpreting them may be helped to know which were synchronous or asynchronous and from which contexts people were meeting the text. There were many annotations from prior dates that weren’t in the cohort of those found today. It would be interesting if the Hypothes.is UI had some better means of indicating time periods of annotation.
Is anyone studying these contextual aspects of digital annotation? I’ve come across some scholarship of commonplace books that attempt to contextualize notes within their historic time periods, but most of those attempts don’t have the fidelity of date and timestamps that Hypothes.is does. In fact, many of those attempts have no dates at all other than that they may have been made +/- a decade or two, which tends to cause some context collapse.
Crowdlaaers may provide some structure for studying these sorts of phenomenon: https://crowdlaaers.org?url=https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47880/theme-for-english-b. It provides some time-based tools for viewing annotations to help provide context. Looking at it’s data, I’m particularly struck by how few people today took advantage of the ability to use taxonomies.
As always, it was fun to see and hear about some uses of annotation using Hypothes.is in the wild. Thanks again to Nate Angell, Remi Kalir, Jeremy Dean, and all of the other panelists and participants who spoke so well about how they’re using this tool.
How I use Hypothesis myself and with my students
Private groups are also my solution to the potential “saturation” problem that many people have asked me about. I DO think that there’s a potential disincentive to students who I’ve asked to annotate a document, if they open it and find hundreds of comments already there. I already face a situation when I post questions for discussion that people answer in a visible way, where some students say their peers have already made the point they were going to make. It’s easier to address this objection, I think, when EVERY LINE of a document isn’t already yellow! ❧
I’ve run into this issue myself in a few public instances. I look at my annotations as my own “conversation” with a document. Given this, I usually flip the switch to hide all the annotations on the page and annotate for myself. Afterwards I’ll then turn the annotation view back on and see and potentially interact with others if I choose.
Annotated on February 23, 2021 at 10:28PM
Small world of annotation enthusiasts, but hopefully getting bigger! ❧
I’ve always wished that Hypothes.is had some additional social features built in for discovering and following others, but they do have just enough for those who are diligent.
I’ve written a bit about [how to follow folks and tags using a feed reader](https://boffosocko.com/2019/11/07/following-people-on-hypothesis/).
And if you want some quick links or even an OPML feed of people and material I’m following on Hypothesis: [https://boffosocko.com/about/following/#Hypothesis%20Feeds](https://boffosocko.com/about/following/#Hypothesis%20Feeds)
Annotated on February 23, 2021 at 11:33PM
Annotated on February 23, 2021 at 11:35PM
Steps to reproduce
- Annotate any page on https://boffosocko.com
- View https://hypothes.is/search?q=url%3Aboffosocko.com%2F*
I would expect the titles of the various annotated posts displayed on H to be that of the <h1> tag on the annotated page or some other logical name based on a parsing algorithm.
The titles for almost all the annotations on my website (since 2016), regardless of the page they’re on, appear to be the incorrect title: “Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2015: Indie Ed-Tech”. The few exceptions seem to be the self-hosted .pdf files on my domain/storage that I’ve annotated.
This appears to be browser and OS independent
The only post on my website related to the title which appears seems to be https://boffosocko.com/2020/05/16/top-ed-tech-trends-of-2015-indie-ed-tech-audrey-watters/ which contains copies of the annotations I made on Audrey Waters’ page. See: http://hackeducation.com/2015/12/21/trends-indie#annotations:soppjJeoEeq9gccaKJdTtg
Some time around 2016 Audrey disabled annotations on her site (due to abuse, though it appears she’s since re-enabled them?). Is it possible that the H client has somehow cached the title of her post and is somehow mapping it as the title for all of the annotations made on my site? Having looked at the pages which have been annotated on my site, there’s nothing hiding in or related to the the meta data or rel=”canonical” links that would indicate that they should have the titles that H is finding for them.
All browsers have a feature called "Bookmark This Page". It is essentially the same poor badly manageable tool on every browsers. If you do not want to rely on a third party service, or an addon, what the browser has to offer is not very satisfying.
Bookmark This Selection
What I would like from the bookmark feature in the browser is the ability to not only bookmark the full page but be able to select a piece of the page that is reflected in the bookmark, be through the normal menu as we have seen above or through the contextual menu of the browser. ❧
Sounds kind of like they’re wishing for Hypothes.is?
Annotated on February 19, 2021 at 09:47PM
And yes, some add-ons exist, but I just wish the feature was native to the browser. And I do not want to rely on a third party service. My quotes are mine only and should not necessary be shared with a server on someone’s else machine. ❧
Ownership of the data is important. One could certainly set up their own Hypothes.is server if they liked.
I personally take the data from my own Hypothes.is account and dump it into my local Obsidian.md vault for saving, crosslinking, and further thought. Other portions go to my personal website for archiving and public display/consumption as well.
Annotated on February 19, 2021 at 09:50PM
How can I also connect this to the Jeremy Dean‘s idea of it helping to facilitate a conversation with texts. Nate Angell had a specific quote/annotation of it somewhere, but it might also reside in this document: Web Annotation as Conversation and Interruption.
Wikilinks everywhere: a web extension/library/bookmarklet that eagerly or lazily resolves [[wikilinks]] in any web property within a user-chosen context, e.g. an Agora or other distributed knowledge graph.
A Firefox and Google Chrome extension to clip websites and download them into a readable markdown file. - deathau/markdownload
I had MarkDownload installed in Chrome before and had used it a bit. Spent some time tonight and did some custom configuration in the settings to make it easier to save web pages directly to my Obsidian commonplace book. This can be an interesting method for quickly saving and linking lots of data, though it also means saving a lot more than may be strictly necessary, particularly at scale. I’m still not giving up on my Hypothes.is methods though.
Once configured for Obsidian, MarkDownload can be a very powerful tool.
Main company site: https://web.hypothes.is/ 2
GitHub repositories: Hypothesis · GitHub 3
Documentation for set up using docker: Installation guide — The Hypothesis Annotation Framework 0.0.2 documentation 1
Given what it offers, I could see people also potentially using it as a CMS, blogging platform, or social bookmarking platform:
It’s too painful to quickly get frequent notes into note taking and related platforms. Hypothes.is has an open API and a great UI that can be leveraged to simplify note taking processes.
Note taking tools
I’ve been keeping notes in systems like OneNote and Evernote for ages, but for my memory-related research and work in combination with my commonplace book for the last year, I’ve been alternately using TiddlyWiki (with TiddlyBlink) and WordPress (it’s way more than a blog.)
I’ve also dabbled significantly enough with related systems like Roam Research, Obsidian, Org mode/Org Roam, MediaWiki, DocuWiki, and many others to know what I’m looking for.
Many of these, particularly those that can be used alternately as commonplace books and zettelkasten appeal to me greatly when they include the idea of backlinks. (I’ve been using Webmention to leverage that functionality in WordPress settings, and MediaWiki gives it grudgingly with the “what links to this page” basic functionality that can be leveraged into better transclusion if necessary.)
The major problem with most note taking tools
The final remaining problem I’ve found with almost all of these platforms is being able to quickly and easily get data into them so that I can work with or manipulate it. For me the worst part of note taking is the actual taking of notes. Once I’ve got them, I can do some generally useful things with them—it’s literally the physical method of getting data from a web page, book, or other platform into the actual digital notebook that is the most painful, mindless, and useless thing for me.
Evernote and OneNote
Older note taking services like Evernote and OneNote come with browser bookmarklets or mobile share functionality that make taking notes and extracting data from web sources simple and straightforward. Then once the data is in your notebook you can actually do some work with it. Sadly neither of these services has the backlinking functionality that I find has become de rigueur for my note taking or knowledge wrangling needs.
My WordPress solutions are pretty well set since that workflow is entirely web-based and because WordPress has both bookmarklet and Micropub support. There I’m primarily using a variety of feeds and services to format data into a usable form that I can use to ping my Micropub endpoint. The Micropub plugin handles the post and most of the meta data I care about.
It would be great if other web services had support for Micropub this way too, as I could see some massive benefits to MediaWiki, Roam Research, and TiddlyWiki if they had this sort of support. The idea of Micropub has such great potential for great user interfaces. I could also see many of these services modifying projects like Omnibear to extend themselves to create highlighting (quoting) and annotating functionality with a browser extension.
With this said, I’m finding that the user interface piece that I’m missing for almost all of these note taking tools is raw data collection.
I’m not the sort of person whose learning style (or memory) is benefited by writing or typing out notes into my notebooks. I’d far rather just have it magically happen. Even copying and pasting data from a web browser into my digital notebook is a painful and annoying process, especially when you’re reading and collecting/curating as many notes as I tend to. I’d rather be able to highlight, type some thoughts and have it appear in my notebook. This would prevent the flow of my reading, thinking, and short annotations from being subverted by the note collection process.
Different modalities for content consumption and note taking
Based on my general experience there are only a handful of different spaces where I’m typically making notes.
A large portion of my reading these days is done in online settings. From newspapers, magazines, journal articles and more, I’m usually reading them online and taking notes from them there.
Some texts I want to read (often books and journal articles) only live in .pdf form. While reading them in an app-specific setting has previously been my preference, I’ve taken to reading them from within browsers. I’ll explain why in just a moment, but it has to do with a tool that treats this method the same as the general online modality. I’ll note that most of the .pdf specific apps have dreadful data export—if any.
Reading e-books (Kindle, e-readers, etc.)
If it’s not online or in .pdf format, I’m usually reading books within a Kindle or other e-reading device. These are usually fairly easy to add highlights, annotations, and notes to. While there are some paid apps that can extract these notes, I don’t find it too difficult to find the raw file and cut and paste the data into my notebook of choice. Once there, going through my notes, reformatting them (if necessary), tagging them and expanding on them is not only relatively straightforward, but it also serves as a simple method for doing a first pass of spaced repetition and review for better long term recall.
Naturally taking notes from live lectures, audiobooks, and other spoken events occurs, but more often in these cases, I’m typically able to type them directly into my notebook of preference or I’m using something like my digital Livescribe pen for notes which get converted by OCR and are easy enough to convert in bulk into a digital notebook. I won’t belabor this part further, though if others have quick methods, I’d love to hear them.
While I love a physical book 10x more than the next 100 people, I’ve been trying to stay away from them because I find that though they’re easy to highlight, underline, and annotate the margins, it takes too much time and effort (generally useless for memory purposes for me) to transfer these notes into a digital notebook setting. And after all, it’s the time saving piece I’m after here, so my preference is to read in some digital format if at all possible.
A potential solution for most of these modalities
For several years now, I’ve been enamored of the online Hypothes.is annotation tool. It’s open source, allows me reasonable access to my data from the (free) hosted version, and has a simple, beautiful, and fast process for bookmarking, highlighting, and annotating online texts on desktop and mobile. It works exceptionally well for both web pages and when reading .pdf texts within a browser window.
I’ve used it daily to make several thousand annotations on 800+ online web pages and documents. I’m not sure how I managed without it before. It’s the note taking tool I wished I’d always had. It’s a fun and welcome part of my daily life. It does exactly what I want it to and generally stays out of the way otherwise. I love it and recommend it unreservedly. It’s helped me to think more deeply and interact more directly with countless texts.
When reading on desktop or mobile platforms, it’s very simple to tap a browser extension and have all their functionality immediately available. I can quickly highlight a section of a text and their UI pops open to allow me to annotate, tag it, and publish. I feel like it’s even faster than posting something to Twitter. It is fantastically elegant.
The one problem I have with it is that while it’s great for collecting and aggregating my note data into my Hypothes.is account, there’s not much I can do with it once it’s there. It’s missing the notebook functionality some of these other services provide. I wish I could plug all my annotation and highlight content into spaced repetition systems or move it around and modify it within a notebook where it might be more interactive and cross linked for the long term. Sadly I don’t think that any of this sort of functionality is on Hypothes.is’ roadmap any time soon.
There is some great news however! Hypothes.is is open source and has a reasonable API. This portends some exciting things! This means that any of these wiki, zettelkasten, note taking, or spaced repetition services could leverage the UI for collecting data and pipe it into their interfaces for direct use.
As an example, what if I could quickly tell Obsidian to import all my pre-existing and future Hypothes.is data directly into my Obsidian vault for manipulating as notes? (And wouldn’t you know, the small atomic notes I get by highlighting and annotating are just the sort that one would like in a zettelkasten!) What if I could pick and choose specific course-related data from my reading and note taking in Hypothes.is (perhaps by tag or group) for import into Anki to quickly create some flash cards for spaced repetition review? For me, this combination would be my dream application!
These small pieces, loosely joined can provide some awesome opportunities for knowledge workers, students, researchers, and others. The education focused direction that Hypothes.is, many of these note taking platforms, and spaced repetition systems are all facing positions them to make a super-product that we all want and need.
So today, as a somewhat limited experiment, I played around with my Hypothes.is atom feed (https://hypothes.is/stream.atom?user=chrisaldrich, because you know you want to subscribe to this) and piped it into IFTTT. Each post creates a new document in a OneDrive file which I can convert to a markdown .md file that can be picked up by my Obsidian client. While I can’t easily get the tags the way I’d like (because they’re not included in the feed) and the formatting is incredibly close, but not quite there, the result is actually quite nice.
Since I can “drop” all my new notes into a particular folder, I can easily process them all at a later date/time if necessary. In fact, I find that the fact that I might want to revisit all my notes to do quick tweaks or adding links or additional thoughts provides the added benefit of a first round of spaced repetition for the notes I took.
Some notes may end up being deleted or reshuffled, but one thing is clear: I’ve never been able to so simply highlight, annotate, and take notes on documents online and get them into my notebook so quickly. And when I want to do something with them, there they are, already sitting in my notebook for manipulation, cross-linking, spaced repetition, and review.
So if the developers of any of these platforms are paying attention, I (and I’m sure others) really can’t wait for plugin integrations using the full power of the Hypothes.is API that allow us to all leverage Hypothes.is’ user interface to make our workflows seamlessly simple.