Aiming for Annotation


For the longest time the majority of people have considered passive reading the same as active reading, which is not the case. Active reading is more like a discussion between you and the material and therefore involves repeated questioning, critiquing, re-examination and the development of ideas. Whereas passive reading is when you’re reading to just get through the assigned pages and you show little actual interest in identifying and remembering the main ideas. But even the best active readers may find it tedious to actively read about particular subjects.

In an article on Educause Review written by Elyse Graham, she talks about the use of digital annotations to help train readers in the techniques of close reading, textual analysis, and proper comprehension of the topic.

Recently, development of tools to support digital annotation has been the subject of research and development. Some groups are building heavily annotated digital versions of maps, manuscripts, and specimens; others are focusing on developing tools that enable users to annotate new media formats, such as audio files or videos of class lectures. For example, the University of Maryland has teamed with Alexander Street Press to tailor a video-annotation toolkit for scholars. Johns Hopkins University is working with the French National Library on a complete digital library of existing manuscripts of the Roman de la Rose, annotated with the kind of scholarly commentary that normally could not appear in a facsimile. MIT’s Annotation Studio, a web-based application that enables users to create, save, and share annotations to digital texts.

The application was designed to help college readers locate and mark evidence in texts, with the aim of supporting instructors and students in the humanities. To learn more about this application click the link above.