Skip to Main Content

Hypothesis for Collaborative Web Annotation: Selective Visual History of Annotation

Now Integrated witih Canvas

A Selective Visual History of Annotation

Talmud.  Source:  Wikipedia.
Milton annotates Shakespeare (Source: Flood, Alison.  "When Milton met Shakespeare: poet's notes on Bard appear to have been found".   The Guardian.  16 September, 2019)
David Foster Walllace annotates The Silence of the Lambs (Source: (who cites the Harry Ransom Center at UT Austin)).
Unknown student uses multiple modes to annotate Things Fall Apart, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and The Great Gatsby.  (Source: website no longer available, captured here on wayback machine)

Annotation was built-in to the original design of the Web:  Mosaic was the first graphical web browser.  (Source:

"Back in 1993, when Eric Bina and I were first building Mosaic, it seemed obvious to us that users would want to annotate all text on the web – our idea was that each web page would be a launchpad for insight and debate about its own contents. So we built a feature called "group annotations" right into the browser – and it worked great – all users could comment on any page and discussions quickly ensued. Unfortunately, our implementation at that time required a server to host all the annotations, and we didn't have the time to properly build that server, which would obviously have had to scale to enormous size. And so we dropped the entire feature.

I often wonder how the Internet would have turned out differently if users had been able to annotate everything – to add new layers of knowledge to all knowledge . . ." Mark Andreesen,

The Washington Post uses Hypothesis to annotate statements of major politicians.  Here, reporter Amber Phillips annotates Mitch McConnell's speech preceding the certification of the 2020 presidential election  on the senate floor, a speech given moments before pro-Trump extremists broke in to the senate chamber and forced congress to evacuate on Jan 6, 2021.
Evergreen students annotate a poem.


Daniel J. Evans Library - MS: LIB2300 - 2700 Evergreen Parkway, NE. Olympia, WA 98501 - 360-867-6250