W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-annotation@w3.org > January to June 2001

annotation anchoring granularity

From: Jon Garfunkel <jgarfunk@genuity.com>
Date: Mon, 16 Apr 2001 16:03:40 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: "'www-annotation@w3.org'" <www-annotation@w3.org>
At 10:50 AM 4/16/2001 -0700, Laurent Denoue wrote:

>Of course, there might be cases when people want to explicitely attach
>annotations to the structure of the document, although I cannot find
>compelling examples. But in the general case, people attach annotations to

I don't follow you? If an annotation is anchored to an XPointer, it is
attached to that particular element within the document (the CONTENT). Is
that a problem?

>Talking about XPointers to anchor annotations, I'm not sure that using IDs
>is a good idea: users do not expect annotations to remain on the document if
>the CONTENT has changed! Imagine you highlight a title in the CNN home page.
>The next day, the title will be different, but you will still get your OLD

Well, that's a bad example, and that's why ThirdVoice bit the dust. What
you and I really want to do is edit documents where the content is
generally fixed to the URL's, in environment where the publishers
understand version control. The W3C specs, for example. 

The CoopData software I'm working on deploying at my office is going to
expect some highly structured anchor documents, such as specifications and
functional requirements.

A better "public interest" example are government agency information pages
which are traditionally non-changing and generally insufficiently
informative, though nonetheless highly structurable. I spent a few hours
late one night adding useful comments to the MBTA web pages (the transit
authority here in the metro Boston area), and whaddaya know, the annotation
service went out of business before the page was ever updated!

As for news articles-- obviously the "headline" page is going to change, so
don't even bother annotating it (or understand that the annotations are
valid as long as the page doesn't change). Just annotate the articles (and
elements within). My feeling is that the more structurable a document is,
the more functional it will be more users. Linear prose is for reading at
the beach...

Slashdot encourages annotating based on the whole document as an anchor.
But that's generally unscaleable, and unreadable.

>So you may use IDs in the document to help the algorithm locate those
>annotations, but you should also use CONTENT (and in my opinion, CONTENT
>should remain the main heuristic).

or do you mean CONTEXT?

>You could also read the paper from Microsoft "Robust Annotation Positioning
>in Digital Documents." available at

umm, here's the URL for the two documents in non-ML:
I'll have a read. It digs up some neat artifacts (ComMentor, ThirdVoice, etc.)

Oh, how do you like that, MSFT has "Office Web Discussions". Ought to have
a look.


Jon Garfunkel .......................... phone 781-262-4797
Software Engineer ...................... Burlington Office 25/2020E
VPN Advantage .......................... http://vpn-eng.bbn.com/~jgarfunk
Genuity. Do you want to change the world?
Received on Monday, 16 April 2001 16:13:33 UTC

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