Monday, January 7, 2008

Web Annotation

A Web Annotation is an online annotaion associated with a web resource, typically a web page. With a Web annotation system, a user can add, modify or remove information from a Web resource without modifying the resource itself. The annotations can be thought of as a layer on top of the existing resource, and this annotation layer is usually visible to other users who share the same annotation system, making it a type of social software tool.
Web annotation can be used:
  • To rate a Web resource, such as by its usefulness, user-friendliness, suitability for viewing by minors.
  • To improve or adapt its contents by adding/removing material, something like a wiki.
  • As a collaborative tool, e.g. to discuss the contents of a certain resource.
  • As a medium of artistic or social criticism, by allowing Web users to reinterpret, enrich or protest against institution or ideas that appear on the Web.

Annotations are a broadly useful mechanism that can support a number of document and database management applications:
  • Provide a trace of use
  • Third party commentary
  • Information sharing
  • Information filtering
  • Semantic labeling of document content
  • Enhanced search

But it continues to be hard to publish to the web. If better tools are provided to information consumers then readers will be able to add commentary, make new connections, interpret content, and otherwise promote an accretion of both structure and content on the web. This process will add new semantics to the web and this new information will be the source for new approaches to searching and filtering of information.

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