"Annotation" and "annotation" (was: RE: [data-model] Proposed Abstract for Web Annotation Data Model Spec)

Rob, honestly, I don’t care much (or at all) about the abstract, my comments are aimed at making the model both internally consistent and intuitively clear (which may be conflicting aims).

If there is intended to be a meaningful distinction between “Annotation” and “annotation” – and I think it is a good idea – it does not seem to be made clear in the document, and perhaps it should, and if so, that  would mean checking all instances of both and making sure they are used correctly, which I know would be a lot of work.   But for example,  the first picture (which I cited) uses “annotation” when (if there really is a distinction intended)  it should be “Annotation”.


From: Robert Sanderson [mailto:azaroth42@gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2014 5:47 PM
To: Doug Schepers
Cc: Denenberg, Ray; W3C Public Annotation List
Subject: Re: [data-model] Proposed Abstract for Web Annotation Data Model Spec

I think the distinction is between "contains" and "references", both of which are possible but have different semantics and are derived from different and valid mindsets.

The Annotation resource in the data model is _not_ the Body resource... so an instance of the Annotation class in the model is the link between the Body/Bodies and the Target/Targets, whereas common parlance would have the annotation [lower case a] also semantically include a (typically textual) comment.  I think that Ray is meaning Annotation and Doug is meaning annotation.

From the principles:
    An Annotation is a resource that represents the link between resources, or a selection within a resource.

Formally, the Annotation is only the aboutness, not the X and not the Y.  So from the model's perspective, the Annotation does not include X (which indeed may not even exist in the case of highlights or bookmarks).

In the serialization, however, we return more information than just the Annotation resource, including information about the body, target, selectors, styles, agents, and so forth that any client will actually need.  Therefore thinking from a document perspective, textual bodies are contained within the document, so it's natural to conclude from this point of view that the body is part of, rather than referenced from, the annotation [lower case a intentional].

I hope that makes sense?

To move forwards, I propose that the editors take this discussion into account, but that we not delay FPWD for WG level word-smithing on the abstract.


On Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 1:30 PM, Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org<mailto:schepers@w3.org>> wrote:
Hi, Ray–

On 11/13/14 10:38 AM, Denenberg, Ray wrote:

I don't want to get too hung up on the first sentence of an

However, comparing;

· Mine: “An Annotation asserts information about a resource”

· Yours: "An annotation is a piece of information attached to
a document or other resource"

I like yours as much as mine, maybe better …. except for the fact
that it isn’t accurate.

If X is “about”  Y, X is not the annotation.  The annotation is a
(third) resource which asserts that X is about Y.

I don't agree.

I know other people who agree with your concept of what an annotation is, but I don't think that's a useful level of abstraction.

To me, and I suspect to most other people, the thing that distinguishes an annotation from a primary resources is that it contains not only content, but the link that asserts that that content pertains to another resource.

In other words, it is both the vehicle and the payload.

I think this is borne out in the data model. An annotation contains one or more target links and selectors, and one (zero?) or more bodies.

Obviously, you can make an annotation that simply links two targets without making an explicit statement about them or their relation, but that's the degenerate (and less common) case.

So, I'd suggest that if X is “about”  Y, (X + the "about" assertion) is the annotation.

What do others think?

How to capture
that in the first sentence of an abstract without blowing the  mind
of a someone reading the abstract just trying to decide whether
annotations are of interest, is admittedly difficult.   But I think,
while the two are probably equally helpful, mine is more accurate.

Respectfully, I think yours definition is reasonably accurate, but abstruse; it would be difficult for the average reader who's not versed in the jargon of semweb (or similar disciplines) to unpack.

I don't really care about my definition per se; I do care about the abstract being both accurate and in plain English.


Rob Sanderson
Technology Collaboration Facilitator
Digital Library Systems and Services
Stanford, CA 94305

Received on Thursday, 13 November 2014 23:04:00 UTC