W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-annotation@w3.org > July to December 1998

web annotation : XPointers are the solution ?

From: Laurent Denoue <Laurent.Denoue@univ-savoie.fr>
Date: Tue, 15 Dec 1998 14:40:51 +0100
Message-ID: <367666E3.40930A74@univ-savoie.fr>
To: www-annotation@w3.org

I'm working on annotations, more
precisely on personal inline
annotations (annotations appear next to
the annotated text in the document).

It seems the XML language is interesting
with its XPointers to create such inline
annotations, since they allow the
identification of sub-elements in a XML

(Note that it could also be applied to
HTML files !)

Now just consider a XPointer has the id
for an annotation.
XPointers could be published on the
Internet (on home-pages like
bookmarks today) and extra information
could be associated to them
(creation date, author name, type of
annotation, scheme used to create
the annotation).

To search for annotations, it would
"just" be a matter of searching the
Web for XPointers.
(Altavista has the "url" option to
search for specific URLs)

Since annotations are distributed on the
Web, the scalability problem is solved.

If you navigate to a page and want to
know who annotated this page, you would
just query Altavista (or other search
engines, maybe special agents
specialized in indexing XPointers) to
search for annotations on that page
(query altavista with "+url:the.page#").
The query could be enriched to filter
results using information provided near
the XPointers (for instance date,
author, organisation,
type of the annotation).

Then, after retrieval of the XPointers,
the browser would include annotations in
the XML/HTML file dynamically so you can
for instance
click on an icon next to the text
annotated to see the annotation.

Note that people could send annotations
by email without the need to publish
them on a server or their home page.

Annotations created locally would be
saved in a Annotation.html file
like Bookmark.html file today. It will
let users have full control over
the annotations. This file could also
serve the function of history of
annotations (all annotations received by
email could be kept for later

Using HTML format to store annotations
would ease the publication process :
people could make their annotations
available on their home pages...

The advantages of this framework are :
- scalability issue : annotations are
spread on the web
- social issue : annotations can be
created for personal use and sent
by email, not necessary published on a
third party server. In the same way
people keep pages in their bookmarks,
and then sometimes want to publish it on
their home page or recommend a URL to a
- standard search engines may be used to
retrieve annotations on demand
and could filter annotations (specific
agents could be used for efficiency

I would be happy to share ideas with
All your comments are welcome.
PhD student at the University of Savoie,
Received on Tuesday, 15 December 1998 08:42:17 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 6 January 2015 20:16:54 UTC