Annotation in WWW

Tim Berners-Lee (
Thu, 19 Nov 92 15:20:14 +0100

Date: Thu, 19 Nov 92 15:20:14 +0100
From: Tim Berners-Lee <>
Message-Id: <>
To: (Marc Andreessen)
Subject: Annotation in WWW


You ask a good question.  Currently, all we do with existing WWW software is as  
you describe: you need write access to annote it. See



for discussions in this area.  We would like to include facilities in the
new protocol to allow front-end update.

One observation I have made is that many nodes are basically lists, and the  
option to add a link to the list could be a simple and safer operation than  
allowing full write acess.

The function would be annotate(docid1, docid2) which would, in the simplest  
hypertext case, add a bit of text to the end of doc1 consisting of the title
of doc2, linked to doc2 itself. This function would give allow a "reply"  
feature when used on a mail message. For a newsgroup, it would equate to  
"post". obviously it would be up to a server how it would impelement it (ity  
could maintain alphabestical order for example, it could store the links in a  
separate databse, it could formatthem anyway) -- the requirement would only be  
that at the end, a link from doc1 to doc2 existed.

I'd be interested in CSCW people getting involved with the web. Certain servers
could for example mention their ability to support concurrent editing of  
documents for clients which support that.