[annotator-dev] Multiple Ranges

Ernesto Torresin (ML) ewk-ml at connettivo.net
Wed Mar 6 21:27:02 UTC 2013

Hello Abel

thanks for letting me know the Hypothes.is project. It makes sense to me
that when annotations become a crowd, piling them up in stacks becomes
crucial, and a simple factorialisation like the "link to other
annotation" one, would allow sparse yet precise hyper-annotations on a
text. Annotations quoted over and over all over the text would certainly
stand for a feature of the text, that I could describe as a facet of it.
Many pieces of text, if not all, have an interwoven structure, and
similar meanings appear at different locations. This is true not only
for the text itself, but for the reading. It is simply our mind that
does not annotate one single point in the world once and for all.

Concerning the technique, a layer of Local Storage can do this and much
more than this. I suppose that linking between annotations could happen
using gestures like the ones of add-n-drop, so clicking on a start
button the cursor becomes busy and clicking on a landing button the
cursor... lands.
Serially numbered labels can summarise visually the reference for a
range, à la DocBook. Same label means same reference.

Writing such a piece of code, I'd probably start by avoiding a Xanadu
effect, simplifying things a bit and have the first annotation, i.e. the
bottom of the heap, hold the URL, and the other Matryoshka dolls reflect
it. In case of update, the second Matryoshka doll would hold the
original URL - people updating a quote on a range won't certainly think
about all the stack.

I think that one thousand things can come out of the OKFN Annotator and
similar projects. I am grateful to those who figured it out.
BTW I'm not really a coder, so you should not miss me much if I am not
helping in making Hypothes.is.

Now I hope that some real expert in this list will drop us a line about
the uncanny in hyper-annotations :-)



On 06/03/2013 20:06, Abel Corver wrote:
> @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 database.
> (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 differently. 
> (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.
> Best, 
> Abel.
> On Wed, Mar 6, 2013 at 12:48 PM, Ernesto Torresin (ML)
> <ewk-ml at connettivo.net <mailto: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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