Learning Paths Annotations and Highlights to One’s Website Using ThreadReaderApp

Some small pieces, loosely joined for owning one’s highlights online.

I ran across a Chrome extension for highlights, annotations, and tagging tonight. It’s called Learning Paths. It works roughly as advertised for creating and saving highlights and annotations online. With a social silo log in process (I didn’t see an email login option), you’ve quickly got an account on the service.

You can then use the extension to highlight, tag, and annotate web pages. One can export their data as a .csv file which is nice. They’ve also got an online dashboard which displays all your data and has the ability to see public data from other users as well.

Screencapture of the Learning Paths UI for their Chrome extension

One of the interesting pieces they support is allowing users to tweet a thread from all their highlights of a piece online. Upon seeing this I thought it might make a useful feature for getting data into one’s personal wiki, website, or digital garden, particularly now that  ThreadReaderApp supports posting unrolled Twitter threads to one’s Micropub enabled website

So the workflow goes something like this (with links to examples of my having tried it along the way):

Screencapture example of ThreadReaderApp’s Authored Threads tab interface

While this works relatively well, there are a few drawbacks:

  • The UI for the annotations is a bit flaky at times and in my experience often disappears before you’ve had a chance to save them.
  • The workflow misses out on any of the annotations and tags you might add to each of the highlights (unless you manually add them to the thread, and even then you may run out of space/characters).
  • The appearance of the thread on your site is simply what you get.

While the idea works roughly in practice, it isn’t as optimal as the workflow or data fidelity I’ve found in using more robust tooling like that found in Hypothes.is for which I’ve also built a better UI on my website.

Still others, might appreciate the idea, so have at it! I’d love to see others’ ideas about owning their highlights, annotations, and related data in a place they control.

 

Bookmarked WorldBrain's Memex (getmemex.com)
Bookmarking for the power users of the web. A privacy focused extension to annotate, search and organize what you've seen online.
Has some interesting functionality and saves the data in places where you own it. Doesn’t have quite the functionality and ease of data transportation for putting it into a usable space for me. 
Bookmarked Unofficial Hypothesis extension. (GitHub)
Contribute to diegodlh/browser-extension development by creating an account on GitHub.
I just installed this on Firefox and it looks like it works as advertised. I’ll start putting it through some paces shortly to see how well it works.
Read Google now highlights search results directly on webpages (The Verge)
It doesn’t seem to be available everywhere just yet.

SearchEngineLand notes that this could have an impact on the ad market, since a website’s visitors may be automatically scrolled down past its ads to the relevant content. The publication notes that sites may need to change the location of their ads in light of Google’s latest feature. 

And of course there will be crazy implications for the adtech space.

Annotated on June 04, 2020 at 09:30AM

Clicking the snippet still takes you to the webpage that it pulled the information from, but now the text from the snippet will be highlighted in yellow, and the browser will automatically scroll down to the section in question. 

This is a feature that’s been implemented in most browsers for a while as fragmentions.

Hypothes.is has supported this sort of functionality for a few years now as well.

I’m curious how these different implementations differ?

Annotated on June 04, 2020 at 09:36AM

and started testing the functionality on HTML pages last year 

According to Kevin Marks, this is the GitHub Repo they’ve been using for creating this work: https://github.com/WICG/scroll-to-text-fragment#:~:text=the%20worst&text=a%20Google&text=serious%20breakage&text=behavior
Annotated on June 04, 2020 at 12:08PM

Read Hypothes.is Collector by John Stewart (johnastewart.org)
One of my favorite online tools is Hypothes.is. It allows you to annotate web pages as you would a book. When you’re using Hypothes.is you can highlight text on a webpage or add notes. The tool can be used to take private notes, but it becomes all the more powerful when you use it for collaborat...

Hypothes.is annotations to WordPress via RSS

I created a video overview/walkthrough of how I take highlights and annotations on Hypothes.isHypothes.is and feed them through to my WordPress Website using RSS and IFTTT.com.

I suspect that a reasonable WordPress user could probably set up a free Hypothes.is account and use the RSS feed from it (something like https://hypothes.is/stream.atom?user=username) to create an IFTTT.com recipe to post it as a public/draft to their WordPress website.

My version presented here has also been augmented by also using the Post Kinds Plugin to which I’ve manually added a custom annotation post type along with some CSS for the yellow highlight effect. These additional coding flourishes aren’t absolutely necessary for those who just want to own the data on their website.

If you want to get even fancier you could also do RSS to IFTTT to do a webhook post to an Micropub endpoint or custom code your own solution using their API. Lots of options are available, the most difficult part may be knowing that something like this could even be done.

Bookmarked Subscribe to Hypothesis annotations (diegodlh.github.io)
Do you want to know when someone annotates your webpages? Do you want to follow somebody's annotations? You have come to the right place.
I’ve seen a few people in the wild using Hypothes.is as a blog commenting system.[1][2] Since they don’t yet have separate support for Webmention or require a bit of programming to get notifications, I thought I’d highlight this particular implementation as it has a simple, but relatively elegant user interface for creating feeds to provide notifications for just such a use case.

One could easily wire up the output from this through a service like IFTTT, Zapier, Integromat, etc. to push the notifications to email, or other modalities as desired. 

It doesn’t give anything over and above what a Hypothes.is addict with some programming skills could already produce, but for those who are code averse, or just too busy with building other pieces of the Domain of One’s Own this could allow some simpler outputs.

If you are a tinkerer, there is a GitHub repo for the project.

While you’re at it, why not throw in the usernames of some of your favorite annotators and subscribe away in your favorite feed reader? Some of the best things I discover online are through colleagues’ annotations, I think, in part, because it’s a much higher level of engagement with the material than the pablum found in many Twitter feeds.

It could also be a good means of following annotations on some of your favorite hashtags in the system as well. Want to learn some new words? Follow wordnik in your feed reader. Want to know the state of the art in Open Education Resources? There’s a tag serious people are annotating with that you could follow in your reader.

A hack for using Hypothes.is to annotate on mobile

I do a fair amount of reading on my mobile phone and my addiction to Hypothes.is for annotating and highlighting what I read has finally driven me to the brink. I have typically added via.hypothes.is to the URLs of articles manually so I can use Hypothes.is on my phone. I’ve finally had enough of the manual timesuck that I’ve gone in search of an answer since there is not yet a mobile app solution.

I’ve long been an Android user, so I broke out the URL Forwarder app which uses the ubiquitous share functionality of most phone platforms and adds a thin layer of program-ability.

In short I created a new filter and cleverly named it “Hypothesize”. Then I added the filter url “http://via.hypothes.is/@url” and left the replaceable text alone. 

screenshot of URL Forwarder and settings for Hypothes.is

Now I can take an article from almost anywhere on my phone (reading services like Pocket, my feed readers, or even articles within the browser themselves), click share, choose “URL Forwarder” from the top of the list, select “Hypothesize” and the piece I want to annotate magically opens up with Hypothes.is ready to go in my default browser. Huzzah!

The three taps are ever so much easier than trying to tap a URL to edit it it and then typing. Why didn’t I think of this years ago?

Have you had this problem? Do you have a better solution or work around?

Read Commonplace Books: Networked Knowledge and Combinatorial Creativity (Farnam Street)
Commonplace books are personal knowledge libraries; notebooks full of collected ideas and bits of wisdom all mixed up together. Here, we take a look at their history and benefits.
There is an old saying that the truest form of poverty is “when you have occasion for anything, you can’t use it...

Early compilations involved various combinations of four crucial operations: storing, sorting, selecting, and summarizing, which I think of as the four S’s of text management. We too store, sort, select, and summarize information, but now we rely not only on human memory, manuscript, and print, as in earlier centuries, but also on computer chips, search functions, data mining, and Wikipedia, along with other electronic techniques. 

Annotated on May 19, 2020 at 10:38PM

“In his influential De Copia (1512),” writes Professor Richard Yeo, “Erasmus advised that an abundant stock of quotations and maxims from classical texts be entered under various loci (places) to assist free-flowing oratory.”
Arranged under ‘Heads’ and recorded as ‘common-places’ (loci communes), these commonplace books could be consulted for speeches and written compositions designed for various situations — in the law court, at ceremonial occasions, or in the dedication of a book to a patron. Typical headings included the classical topics of honour, virtue, beauty, friendship, and Christian ones such as God, Creation, faith, hope, or the names of the virtues and vices. 

Annotated on May 19, 2020 at 10:51PM

Commonplace books, during the Renaissance, were used to enhance the memory. Yeo writes,
This reflected the ancient Greek and Roman heritage. In his Topica, Aristotle formulated a doctrine of ‘places’ (topoi or loci) that incorporated his ten categories. A link was soon drawn between this doctrine of ‘places’ (which were, for Aristotle, ‘seats of arguments’, not quotations from authors) and the art of memory. Cicero built on this in De Oratore, explaining that ‘it is chiefly order that gives distinctness to memory’; and Quintilian’s Institutio Oratoria became an influential formulation. This stress on order and sequence was the crux of what came to be known as ‘topical memory’, cultivated by mnemonic techniques (‘memoria technica’) involving the association of ideas with visual images. These ideas, forms of argument, or literary tropes were ‘placed’ in the memory, conceived in spatial terms as a building, a beehive, or a set of pigeon holes. This imagined space was then searched for the images and ideas it contained…. In the ancient world, the practical application of this art was training in oratory; yet Cicero stressed that the good orator needed knowledge, not just rhetorical skill, so that memory had to be trained to store and retrieve illustrations and arguments of various kinds. Although Erasmus distrusted the mnemonic arts, like all the leading Renaissance humanists, he advocated the keeping of commonplace books as an aid to memory. 

I particularly love the way this highlights the phrase “‘placed’ in the memory” because the idea of loci as a place has been around so long that we tacitly use it as a verb so naturally in conjunction with memory!

Note here how the author Richard Yeo manages not to use the phrase memory palace or method of loci.Was this on purpose?
Annotated on May 19, 2020 at 10:56PM

While calling memory “the store-house of our ideas,” John Locke recognized its limitations.
On the one hand, it was an incredible source of knowledge.
On the other hand, it was weak and fragile. He knew that over time, memory faded and became harder to retrieve, which made it less valuable. 

As most humanists of the time may have had incredibly well-trained memories (particularly in comparison with the general loss of the art now), this is particularly interesting to me. Having had a great memory, the real value of these writings and materials is to help their memories dramatically outlive their own lifetimes. This is particularly useful as their systems of passing down ideas via memory was dramatically different than those of indigenous peoples who had a much more institutionalized version of memory methods and passing along their knowledge.

Annotated on May 19, 2020 at 11:00PM

“Extraordinary Commonplaces,” Robert Darnton 

Annotated on May 19, 2020 at 11:03PM

Neither ought anything to be collected whilst you are busied in reading; if by taking the pen in hand the thread of your reading be broken off, for that will make the reading both tedious and unpleasant. 

This is incredibly important for me, though in a more technology friendly age, I’ve got tools like Hypothes.is for quickly highlighting and annotating pages and can then later collect them into my commonplace book as notes to work with and manage after-the-fact.

Annotated on May 19, 2020 at 11:07PM

The aim of these books wasn’t regurgitation but rather combinatorial creativity. People were encouraged to improvise on themes and topics. Gathering raw material alone — in this case, information — is not enough. We must transform it into something new. It is in this light that Seneca advised copying the bee and Einstein advised combinatorial play. 

I was really hoping for so much more in this essay on the combinatorial creativity, espcially since the author threw the idea into the title. The real meat must be in the two linked articles about Seneca and Einstein.

There is a slight mention of combinatorics in the justaposition of pieces within one’s commonplace book, and a mention that these books may date back to the 12th century where they were probably more influenced by the combinatoric creativity of Raymond Lull. It’s still an open question for me just how far back the idea of commonplaces goes as well as how far back Lull’s combinatoric pieces go…

Annotated on May 19, 2020 at 11:13PM

Replied to A thread on Hypothes.is in relation to Audrey Watters' Top Ed-Tech Trends of 2015: Indie Ed-Tech by Audrey Watters, Jeremy Dean, Dan Whaley (Hack Education / Hypothes.is)

it supports students and teachers and schools in managing their own infrastructure, their own labor, their own data.

—Audrey Watters

Ok, so is hypothes.is doing this? How can it?

  • my annotations must be better accessible/organizable --the current "My Annotations" is not enough
  • annotation must be exportable

—jeremydean on Dec 30, 2015


And ultimately, you need to be able to completely run your own annotation infrastructure, but create and access it through a universal client.

—dwhly on Dec 30, 2015


Sure. Less clear to me how that looks/works and what that I do today online is similar in "ownership." But does your "you" refer to students or teachers or schools or all of the above?

The first two (I list) seem key in terms of practical adherence to these principles for everyday users.

—jeremydean on Dec 30, 2015


It's similar in character to the Domain of One's Own initiative. From a long term perspective, you might be better off taking ownership of your own infrastructure, that you can carry with you and guarantee will be available over long time periods (decades to centuries). Hypothes.is should at the very least permit you to do so if you prefer-- regardless of whether we continue to provide an annotation service at scale (which I very much think we should).

Your question around "you" is an important one. I might for instance, set up my own annotation server for my personal notes-- with the confidence that I'll always be able to find a reliable hosting provider for those. Similar to how I have my own web domain, and I host it at one place now, but I can always move it if that location goes out of business-- and my website will be identical to its current form in the new place. In the same way, my current personal email is through an address at my own domain. I don't need to depend on gmail being around forever.

As a teacher, I might use a more common service provider (like Hypothes.is) for class lessons-- one that my students are already likely to have accounts on. As web travelers, we're really accustomed to browsing seamlessly between servers-- it's understood to be the essential architecture of the web. Bringing it to the world of annotations has extraordinary benefits (IMHO) and will serve to foster more adoption and more diversity of applications.

—dwhly on Dec 30, 2015

I’ve been thinking over some of this question for the better part of a decade and even more pointedly since November.

Some of what I’ve been looking at relates back to the renaissance ideas of the commonplace book as well as memory techniques dating back to ancient Greece and even further back. There are ideas like wikis (personal as well as public–Audrey references a great post by Mike Caulfield in her article) and online notebooks tools like Evernote, OneNote, TiddlyWiki, Roam Research, etc. If a student could quickly add all their highlights/annotations into their website, online notebook, Zettelkasten, or other related learning tools, then they could use them for reading, reviewing, or even spaced repetition as provided by platforms like Anki, Mnemosyne, or NeuraCache.

Going back to Jeremy’s original question though:

Ok, so is hypothes.is doing this? How can it?

Hypothesis could immediate do this and quite effectively if it supported the W3C recommended Micropub spec. In short, it’s a standard and open source method for publishing data to a broad spectrum of surfaces so that developers don’t need to build custom solutions for each of thousands of snowflake platforms.

That is, in addition to its current functionality, you could add some code to make Hypothesis a Micropub client!

The quickest and most flexible approach I might suggest would be to allow users to publish their annotations/highlights not only to their accounts, but have UI to trigger a micropub request to their website, online notebook, or other platform.

There’s nothing more I’d want than an easy way to own all the data I’m collecting with Hypothesis and Micropub could quickly add it for a wide variety of set ups and systems. There are already implementations of Micropub servers for a variety of CMS software including WordPress, Drupal, Known, Craft, Jekyll, Kirby, Hugo, Blot, and Micro.blog with others being added, including Grav. Some of us are actively working on adding it to Wiki-related software as well. Since large portions of the Domain of One’s Own movement are built on these handful, you’d have some pretty quick coverage of not only all this space but even more.

I suspect your dev team could build an implementation in just a few days and it would open up a huge advantage for allowing users to more easily own their H related data on their own websites or in other online locations (while still utilizing the Hypothesis platform for more complex functionality).

There’s some solid documentation and a wealth of open source clients you could look at or borrow code from as well as a test suite. I suspect the IndieWeb Dev chat channel would surface a few additional developers to answer questions about any other issues as they crop up.

If you’d like a quick 5-10 minute demo of how this works for a handful of other clients in conjunction with something like WordPress, I’m happy to volunteer the time and spitball some potential ways Hypothesis could dovetail it and leverage its power.

Read Social Reading, Collaborative Annotation, and Remote Learning with Hypothesis (Hypothesis)
Last week Hypothesis saw the largest uptick in interest in our LMS integration since we released the app a little over a year ago. The vast majority of this interest came from individual instructors across the globe grappling with the challenge of moving their courses to remote delivery in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
Annotated Social Reading and Remote Learning with Hypothesis (Hypothesis)
Recipes for Annotation
We are also establishing a hub for teaching materials related to collaborative, digital annotation where we will share resources to help instructors get started with practices other teachers are already using. We would be grateful if veterans of Hypothesis, social reading, and online learning would share their lesson plans and activities with us so we can share with others and credit your work. Annotate this post with your ideas or email your contributions to education@hypothes.is.
Your Content Goes Here  
Interesting… earlier today I was actually thinking about how it might be easier to help both students and teachers in their onboarding process. I had thought that a set up like Terry Green’s Open Patchbooks might be an interesting way to do this: see http://openlearnerpatchbook.org/ and https://facultypatchbook.pressbooks.com/