We’ve Reached 40 Million Annotations

By frannyfrench | 6 September, 2022

Bar graph representing 40 million annotations

A decade ago, we set out on the bold mission of annotating all knowledge. Today, we have reached a record 40 million annotations. But this milestone is not ours alone — we share it with all the educators, students, librarians, instructional designers, researchers, fact checkers, technologists and everyday folks busily annotating digital documents with questions, answers, corrections, speculations, new ideas, old ideas, links, memes, GIFs, and even amusing observations.

This record number is thanks to you, the over 1 million annotators who have seeded the margins on nearly 2.3 million digital documents. Congratulations to each and every one of you! And thank you for playing an integral part in our mission.

For us at Hypothesis, this most awesome, humbling and encouraging number of 40 million annotations indicates that we are moving closer to our vision of a conversation layer over all knowledge. We are also realizing a very important part of that dream: In higher education, the use of social annotation in the classroom is boosting critical thinking and building community by increasing engagement with assigned readings as students share the learning with their peers. Right now, students at more than 350 colleges and universities are annotating everything from novels to poetry to scientific papers, historical and political documents and texts of every imaginable kind. Possibilities abound when it comes to social annotation.

Whether annotating inside or outside a learning management system (LMS), educators have been implementing social annotation in creative and innovative ways. Hear directly from a great number of them in past episodes of Liquid Margins, the show where we gather to talk about social annotation, social learning and other ways we make knowledge together. Each Liquid Margins episode can be enjoyed through short clips or full recordings.

What else is making our annotated world turn?

Recently, Hypothesis began an exciting partnership with ITHAKA, the nonprofit organization behind JSTOR, which provides educators with access to over 12 million journal articles, books, images and primary sources in 75 disciplines. Both ITHAKA and Hypothesis see this relationship as a powerful next step in growing the value proposition in the academic and scholarly worlds. One of the first outcomes of this joint venture will be a pilot integration that enables our users to engage with JSTOR’s library of scholarly content directly within the Hypothesis interface. Read more about the partnership and other developments here.

As Kevin Guthrie, President of ITHAKA, puts it: “Our mission is to improve access to knowledge and education so that people can learn, grow and thrive. Engaging students in their learning through annotation and social reading is a compelling capability made possible by the web, yet to be fully realized. We are therefore very excited to connect Hypothesis and JSTOR and accelerate the beneficial use of annotation by faculty and students all over the world.”

Using 7 social annotation strategies

As summer peels away and a new school term begins, the age-old question comes to the surface: Are students actually doing the reading? Social annotation is an efficacious way not only to get students to complete assigned reading, but to engage them in textual materials in ways that elevate their contributions to class discussions and imbue students with agency over their own learning.

Download our e-book containing 7 strategies for using social annotation in your teaching. It’s free to view, and we know you’ll come away well equipped to make the most of social annotation in your teaching praxis.

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