Our View From 20 Million Annotations

By frannyfrench | 19 February, 2021

Hypothesis annotators just made their 20 millionth annotation, not even a year after we marked 10 million annotations. And what a year it’s been! Social annotation was already growing rapidly before the pandemic moved us even more online. As we’ve hit 10M, 15M, and now 20M annotations over the last months, it’s clear that students and teachers connecting remotely have been accelerating social annotation faster than ever. With full recognition of the immense challenges everyone has faced over the last year, we are deeply honored to have been able to provide a way for so many people to connect, on 1.4 million documents and counting. Our thanks to all the authors, educators, fact-checkers, journalists, librarians, publishers, scholars, students, and technologists who have collaborated to help us reach this milestone.

Where do we go from here?

Looking ahead, we are focused on a few key areas to empower the next 20 million annotations.

As part of our ongoing effort to better understand the benefits of social annotation, we have begun collaborating with Indiana University on a multi-year research project to investigate how social annotation connects with reading and writing practices for undergraduate students in core English literature and composition courses for majors and non-majors. The study will start with four semesters of data collection and initial analysis, and go on to generate additional research activities all the way through 2025.

The annotation community produces new resources and practices to enable people to connect over texts so fast we can barely keep up. To help people share, we’ve been recording episodes of Liquid Margins, the show where we gather to talk about collaborative annotation, social learning, and other ways we make knowledge together. You can view past episodes and RSVP to join upcoming shows live. To extend sharing even further, we’ll soon be unveiling the Liquid Margins website, a collaborative space for collecting and sharing social annotation resources, best practices, tips and workarounds, research, tools, news, and annotation history.

In a landscape where ensuring student success is paramount and more and more learning moves online, faculty and institutions are looking for new capabilities that enable students to engage with content together, starting with reading, still the foundation of learning. Social learning provides demonstrable benefits: making learning active, visible, and collaborative while improving outcomes. However, common social learning capabilities do not yet extend across the diverse platforms where students and teachers engage with reading and each other. Moving forward, we will endeavor to bring together the major platform providers to offer user-friendly, interoperable standards and solutions to support social learning across content.

Join us and stay in touch

Subscribe to annotation news to get updates about all these endeavors and more. We’d love to have you be a part of the next 20 million annotations.

Share this article