Digital Annotation

My university copy of Lave and Wenger’s Situated Learning is peppered with comments in the margins. It seems there have been two students at work here; one, using what appears to have been a big fat 2B, has merely scrawled largely illegible keywords around numerous underlined passages, whilst another, using a sharper pencil which has dug indelibly into the pages, has written several in-depth comments which display an insightful reading of the text.

I tended to ignore such distractions, but since reading David Weinberger’s excellent Everything is Miscellaneous, I have begun to take more notice. Predicting a day when they will be cheaper than paperbacks (p.222), he highlights the capability of electronic books to collate readers’ annotations. He sees this as contributing to the public metadata of the text, which will enrich a third-order, collaborative reading process. The potential within education is obvious; multi-perspective layers of student annotation contextualised with the original text. But beyond this, the shift towards reading as a socialised activity, borne out by the meteoric rise in the number of book clubs, has demonstrated a collective desire to share thoughts with others who have read the same books.

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2 Responses to “Digital Annotation”

  1. You read it here first... | Says:

    […] and eventual affordability of e-book readers and the increase in social text annotation (see an earlier post) will influence an unexpected shift in emphasis back to formal key texts; serving as a basis for […]

  2. Andy Coverdale Says:

    From the Horizon Report 2010

    “Advances in electronic reader technology have brought electronic versions of academic texts to a level with printed ones. The newest readers can display graphics of all kinds and make it easy to bookmark and annotate pages and passages. Annotations can be exported, viewed online, shared, and archived. In addition, electronic readers offer keyword searching, instant dictionary lookups and, in some cases, wireless Internet access. The experience of reading and note taking is becoming as easy in electronic form as it is in paper.” (p.18)

    Johnson, L., Levine, A., Smith, R., & Stone, S. (2010). The 2010 Horizon Report. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

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