[annotator-dev] Multiple Ranges

Abel Corver contact at abelcorver.com
Wed Mar 6 19:06:52 UTC 2013

@Ernesto: I'm planning to implement this "link to other annotation"
functionality soon for Hypothes.is. The code will as far as I can see be
written in the Hypothes.is fork of Annotator though, so it'd be great if
you want to cooperate on this. As I see it now, we need two things:

(1) An extra "grab URL" button that pops up when you highlight a piece of
text, which returns a unique URL to that particular range. The information
could either be completely stored in the URL, or the URL might be a
shortened version that can be used to request all the information from the

(2) Functionality that will display annotations differently when the
Annotator 'notices' that a URL to another annotation has been inserted. It
might for example display the other comment side-by-side. Markdown already
supports URLs, so it should simply be a matter of displaying the URL

(3) We also might want to store the annotation-to-annotation separately -
in addition to as part of the annotation body - so that it is easy to query
"references" and "referenced by" information. That way the user can
navigate "both ways"

I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on this. Maybe we can work together.


On Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 12:48 PM, Ernesto Torresin (ML) <
ewk-ml at connettivo.net> wrote:

> On 06/03/2013 17:40, Robert Casties wrote:
> > On 06.03.13 11:20, Suchitra Subramanian wrote:
> >> Hi - I am implementing saving annotations on a page to the database.
> >>
> >>  I would like to know when an annotation would have multiple ranges.
> >>
> >> w.r.t. the Annotation format specified in
> >> https://github.com/okfn/annotator/wiki/Annotation-format, even if i
> create
> >> an annotation on text spanning multiple paragraphs, the "ranges" list
> >> always has 1 entry.
> >
> > I think it is not possible in the current Annotator frontend to select
> > more than one text span for an annotation. The same goes for our
> > digilib-annotator frontend for graphical annotations.
> >
> >> If there is no possibility of ranges being multiple, I would design my
> >> database table structures accordingly.
> >
> > I would think in the short term you could ignore multiple ranges but in
> > the longer term it may be used.
> >
> > In principle it could make sense to attach an annotation to a
> > non-continuous range of text or image, e.g. a technical term consisting
> > of two words that are separated by other words.
> >
> > Looking at the OAC-Ontology (http://www.openannotation.org/spec/core/)
> > it is not entirely clear to me how to model multiple ranges. Multiple
> > Selectors in one annotation Target? Composite Targets? Which may or may
> > not be relevant to the JSON Annotation-Format.
> >
> > Other opinions?
> >
> I'd be curious to know whether this could be done having, for an
> annotation, a pointer to the ID of another annotation. That would be a
> kind of symlink.
> Ernesto Torresin
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