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Work in Progress on a new Annotation Working Group Charter (Advance Notice)

From: Coralie Mercier <coralie@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 04 Feb 2014 12:03:51 +0100
Cc: public-annotation@w3.org
To: w3c-ac-members@w3.org
Message-ID: <op.xaq7opzhsvvqwp@sith.local>
Dear Advisory Committee Representative,

This is an advance notice that the Team has started work on a charter for  
a Working Group supporting annotations in Web pages, in digital books and  
magazines, and other types of media on the Web.

Annotating, i.e., the act of creating associations between distinct pieces  
of information, is a widespread activity online in many guises but  
currently lacks a structured approach. Web citizens make comments about  
online resources using either tools built into the hosting web site,  
external web services, or the functionality of an annotation client.  
Readers of ebooks use the tools provided by reading systems to add and  
share their thoughts or highlight portions of texts. Comments about photos  
on Flickr, videos on YouTube, audio tracks on SoundCloud, people's posts  
on Facebook, or mentions of resources on Twitter could all be considered  
to be annotations associated with the resource being discussed.

The possibility of annotation is essential for many application areas. For  
example, it is standard practice for students to mark up their printed  
textbooks when familiarizing themselves with new materials; the ability to  
do the same with electronic materials (e.g., books, journal articles, or  
infographics) is crucial for the advancement of e-learning. Submissions of  
manuscripts for publication by trade publishers or scientific journals  
undergo review cycles involving authors and editors or peer reviewers;  
although the end result of this publishing process usually involves Web  
formats (HTML, XML, etc.), the lack of proper annotation facilities for  
the Web platform makes this process unnecessarily complex and time  
consuming. Communities developing specifications jointly, and published,  
eventually, on the Web, need to annotate the documents they produce to  
improve the efficiency of their communication.

There is a large number of closed and proprietary web-based “sticky note”  
and annotation systems offering annotation facilities on the Web or as  
part of ebook reading systems. The primary complaint about these is that  
the user-created annotations cannot be shared, reused in another  
environment, archived, and so on, due to a proprietary nature of the  
environments where they were created. The goal of this Working Group is to  
provide an open approach for annotation, making it possible for browsers,  
reading systems, JavaScript libraries, and other tools, to develop an  
annotation ecosystem where users have access to their annotations from  
various environments, can share those annotations, can archive them, and  
use them how they wish.

The mission of the Annotation Working Group, which we may propose to add  
to the Digital Publishing Activity, is to define a generic data model for  
annotations, and define the basic infrastructural elements to make it  
deployable in browsers and reading systems.

A draft charter is available (this is not a formal review, just an  early  

The goal of this draft is to provide a framework for a public discussion  
on the creation of an annotation working group at w3c. We also anticipate  
getting community perspectives on the scope of this proposed charter at a  
Workshop on Annotation that W3C plans to organize in April, co-located  
with the I Annotate conference in San Francisco. The current plan is to  
finalize the charter soon after that event. Once the charter is finalized,  
it will be reviewed by the director and W3M and then sent to you for  
formal approval.

We welcome your comments and questions as well as general expressions of  
interest and support on <w3c-ac-forum@w3.org>, copied to  
<public-annotation@w3.org> (this is a public mailing list). You may also  
send comments directly to Ivan Herman <ivan@w3.org> or Doug Schepers  

This announcement follows section 6.2.2 of the Process Document:

For Tim Berners-Lee, Director,
Ralph Swick, Information and Knowledge Domain Lead,
Ivan Herman, Digital Publishing Activity Lead;
Coralie Mercier, W3C Communications

  Coralie Mercier  -  W3C Communications Team  -  http://www.w3.org
mailto:coralie@w3.org +336 4322 0001 http://www.w3.org/People/CMercier/
Received on Tuesday, 4 February 2014 11:04:02 UTC

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