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Re: barriers to deployment of web annotation?

From: Jakob Hummes <hummes@eurecom.fr>
Date: Tue, 08 Dec 1998 17:21:29 +0100
Message-ID: <366D5209.BD19F550@eurecom.fr>
To: "Rolf H. Nelson" <rnelson@w3.org>
CC: www-annotation@w3.org
Rolf H. Nelson wrote:

> 1.   Lack of user agent business model:  perhaps the major ISPs and
>      browser vendors, who are in the best postion to widely deploy a
>      Web annotation system, do not believe there could be enough
>      demand for Web annotations to cost justify spending engineering
>      time on annotation technology.

Maybe, but then: If third party annotations exists, why should they
hinder them?
> 2.   Technological difficulties:  Issues of user interface,
>      scalability, performance and privacy may be scaring people away
>      from deploying Web annotation technology.

Scalability is the keyword here.  I've done a lot of research on
annotation systems 2 years ago (see also my publication, which lists
most of the annotation systems that were available at that time).

A scalable third-party annotation service does simply not exist. 
Thinking about it, such a system must be runnable without modification
of existing Web servers.  Good luck finding an appropriate architecture;
people would get a Ph.D. and more for it... ;-)

Other problems include: on what granularity do you want to annotate
(word, HTML/XML object, URL)?  what about all the ASP sites and cookie
driven pages?
> 3.   Disinterest:  Some people may not perceive Web annotation
>      technology to be particularly useful.

Nope.  I don't think that chat is particular useful, but ICQ skyrocked. 
It's just the enormous technological challenge what's keep people away
of creating such a service. 

BTW: Annotation services for small to medium groups exist.  See as
examples the Web4Groups initiative and the BSCW service.  You'll find
more approaches in my paper about active annotations published in the
book: voting, rating and annotation (see my Web page). 

- Jakob
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Received on Tuesday, 8 December 1998 11:26:55 UTC

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