Direct Linking

By judell | 12 April, 2016

If you click here, one of two things will happen. With the Hypothesis extension installed, you’ll open a page at where the Hypothesis sidebar will open and focus on one annotation. The annotation highlights this sentence in an email written by Eugene Eric Kim:

Over the past several months, I have found the granular addressability so indispensable, I find it annoying when people don’t use purple numbers.

If you’re not running the Hypothesis extension the same thing will happen in a different way. In this case the link redirects to the Hypothesis proxy which loads the page and then does the same things: open the sidebar, focus on the annotation,

We call this direct linking, and it’s an exciting new feature for Hypothesis, but the idea — like so many others — first appeared in the pioneering work of Doug Engelbart. “By 2006,” says Christina Engelbart, executive director of the Engelbart Institute, “my father had pushed a single requirement to the top of his priority list: granular addressability, the ability to link to any object in any file anywhere.”

In our implementation, the object that you link to — a word or phrase in a document — may be contextualized by commentary and discussion and may also be classified by means of tags. The direct link captures that context. When you share it, the context is recreated for others.

When we can name and share contexts in this way, magical things become possible. For a team of investigative journalists, collaboratively annotating source documents, a single phrase — or even just a number in a table — may anchor a crucial piece of analysis. The direct link expresses the relationship between the selection and its analysis in a way that can easily fit in a tweet.

Lexicographers working on a dictionary can highlight words in the context of their use in the wild, attach definitions, and invite commentary. again by sharing a concise link. Scientists participating in a peer review, or teachers and students engaged in a close reading of a literary work, can link one another directly into conversational contexts that are precisely connected to elements in source texts. You won’t have to look hard for uses like these that matter to you..

To capture a direct link, click the Share icon on an annotation card and copy the offered URL. Even if you’ve followed a direct link and wish to reshare it, we recommend that you use this method rather than capturing the URL in the brower’s address bar. That’ll ensure that everybody you share with, whether they’re using the proxy or the extension, will get what they need.

Here’s the direct link to the annotation cited above:

You can always use the entire link, but note that the appended URL (shown here in green) is optional. We include it in order to provide helpful context to others when exchanging links, but if you need to be concise, you can omit it.

This is our first implementation of direct linking, and enhancements will follow. In this initial version, please note that there’s a difference between direct links to annotations and direct links to replies. In the latter case, the Share icon produces a link to a standalone reply page. We’ll support direct links to replies, along with a number of other refinements, in a forthcoming release.

We’re thrilled to bring this capability to you, and we can’t wait to see how you’ll bring it to life in your annotation practices!

Share this article