Making History With 25 Million Annotations

By frannyfrench | 16 July, 2021

A bar graph showing quarterly Hypothesis annotations from Q1 2017 through Q2 2021, including markers for when 1M, 5M, 10M, 15M, 20M, and 25M annotations were recorded.

Back in February 2021 we reached a whopping 20 million annotations. Now just a quarter of a year later and we’ve shattered that record with a new milestone: 25 million annotations. Wow! Our dream of annotating all knowledge seems to be on the road to becoming a reality. We used to mark every millionth annotation, but they’re piling up so fast that we can only shout out big jumps like these — or we’d be celebrating all the time. Please share pride in this milestone with us, because of course this accomplishment is not only ours; it belongs to each and every one of you annotators, as well as to your students, your colleagues, and your organizations and institutions.

Here are some other numbers we’re celebrating: Over 300 schools are using Hypothesis formally and are part of the AnnotatED community, and over 700 more schools are starting to engage with social annotation informally. The total number of registered annotators is over 845K. Together, they have annotated over 1.6 million different documents.

What else has been happening?

We just wrapped up I Annotate 2021, the 8th annual conference all about open annotation practices and technologies. For the first time since the inception of I Annotate — way back in 2013 — we held the conference in an all-virtual setting. Holding the event fully online enabled record new participants, with over 700 registrants from every rounded corner of the globe and attendants from over 50 countries. Get the entire skinny here, including a link to the full program, with session detail pages where you can view specific recordings and resources. You can even annotate the program itself, and annotate video transcripts of each session while you watch recordings.

I Annotate 2021 logo with open book with hands writing in it and beside that are the words I Annotate 2021 and Reading Together.

In more big news, we’re thrilled to announce a new coalition: Social Learning Across Content (SLAC). SLAC coalition members range from educational content creators to technology platform partners, service providers, and stakeholder groups, all uniting in support of cross-platform social learning. Collectively, we have created this member-based confederation to establish user-friendly, interoperable best practices and solutions to bring social learning to all content. Read more about SLAC.

As momentum for social annotation expands across more and more schools, we continue to produce episodes of Liquid Margins, showcasing people doing amazing work who sit in conversation with us to share their annotation knowledge, insights, and experiences for the benefit of educators far and wide who tune in or watch the recordings. Liquid Margins is only about a year old, but we’re already up to 22 episodes, on topics ranging from English to math to science and world languages. It seems the uses for social annotation are limitless.

Thumbnails from 22 episodes of the Liquid Margins show.

What’s on the horizon?

Last year we entered into a multi-year research project in collaboration with Indiana University Bloomington (IU) to investigate how social annotation improves reading and writing practices for undergraduate students. The causal relationship between social annotation and student success has long been assumed among many educators teaching with social annotation — and likely by students too. The study began in January of this year, and we are starting to see some interesting results that support the, well, hypothesis.

Again, the stunning annotation numbers and exciting projects and partnerships are made possible by a vibrant community of folks who understand the value, importance, and power of social annotation — and who believe in a shared vision of the open and equitable practice of reading together and learning in community. We couldn’t do this without your support or your voice. As always, we are humbled and grateful. Here’s to each and everyone one of you, and to 25 million more — and climbing.


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