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Re: Annotea futures? Annotation standards in 2009...

From: Stephen Crawley <uqscrawl@uq.edu.au>
Date: Mon, 25 May 2009 11:50:39 +1000
Message-ID: <4A19F96F.7010901@uq.edu.au>
To: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
CC: www-annotation@w3.org, public-annotea-dev@w3.org, marja@annotea.org, Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>, "Eric Prud'hommeaux" <eric@w3.org>, jose@w3.org, "Ralph R. Swick" <swick@w3.org>
Hi Folks,

The Jane Hunter's eResearch group at the University of Queensland has 
done a lot annotation software in the past year:

*  Our 'Danno' server is now in beta.  It is a full implementation of 
the Annotea spec in Java, complete with support for OAI-PMH harvesting 
and (as of a week ago) support for delivering  Annotea query responses 
as RSS feeds.  We have just updated the "demo" page at 
http://maenad.itee.uq.edu.au/danno/index.thml to show off the latest 
features.  Danno is compatible with Annozilla ... modulo that a Danno is 
configured by default to use DC 1.1 URIs (following the spec) rather 
than DC 1.0 URIs (following annotest).

*  Our 'Dannotate' client prototype has reached a state where we are 
happy for people to take a look at it.  Unlike Annozilla, Dannotate is 
implemented to run as untrusted code; i.e. not as a plugin/extension.  
This means that >>in theory<< we should be able to run on any browser.  
In practice, it currently runs on Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, Opera 
and ... (wait for it) ... Internet Explorer 8 !!!  You can see the 
latest version of Dannotate at 
http://maenad.itee.uq.edu.au/dias-b/dannotate.html which explains some 
of the technology used.

*  We have also updated our 'MDE' and 'MSF' to handle RDF metadata 
records and schemas respectively, and we have implemented an adapter 
that allows MDE to load, edit, validate and store annotations to a 
generic Annotea server.  A preliminary demo of MDE <-> Danno integration 
can be seen at http://maenad.itee.uq.edu.au:28080/mde/index.html We have 
more work to do on a number of fronts before this is work is ready for 
prime time, but an MDE / MSF based client has the promise of supporting 
custom annotation schemas and deep validation of annotation content.

*  OAI-ORE objects relate multiple resources from disparate databases 
within a single compound object. We have implemented a Firefox 
extension, LORE (Literature Object Re-use and Exchange) that will enable 
users to create / author OAI-ORE compliant Compound Objects, publish 
them in an Annotea service, edit them and search and retrieve them.

This work is being performed as part of the DIAS-B and Aus-e-lit 
projects, and is currently being used in (non-public) prototypes of 
future versions of the Atlas of Living Australia ( 
http://www.ala.org.au/ ) and the AUSLIT ( http://www.austlit.edu.au/ ) 
websites.  Much of the software is already available from SourceForge at 
http://sourceforge.net/projects/metadata-net and the rest will be 
released there in the future.

An overview of our part of the DIAS-B project may be found at 
http://www.itee.uq.edu.au/~eresearch/projects/diasb/ .  An overview of 
the Aus-e-lit project may be found at 
http://www.itee.uq.edu.au/~eresearch/projects/aus-e-lit/ .

-- Steve Crawley

Dan Brickley wrote:
> (I'm cc:'ing 3 lists, rather warily; if the thread gets long, please 
> consider trimming it to just use semantic-web@w3.org)
> Hi all
> I'm involved in helping advise a new not-for-profit project that is 
> close in approach to the old Annotea project, looking at annotations 
> within pieces of Web content, and their cross-linking, threading for 
> discussion etc. It's now 2009, over ten years since the original 
> Annotea designs. The Web has changed a lot since then, but the need to 
> annotate it doesn't seem to have gone away.
> See http://annotea.org/ 
> http://www.w3.org/2001/Annotea/User/Tutorial/quicktutorial and nearby 
> for an overview of Annotea.
> Since then Web 2.0 has happened, and now many of the original themes 
> of Annotea are part of the mainstream Web developer perspective. And 
> yet ... looking at the comments to this 2007 techcrunch survey - 
> http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/04/10/5-ways-to-mark-up-the-web/ - I 
> see project after project, startup after startup, exploring this space 
> without any great emphasis on data exchange standards. I guess many of 
> them have APIs, probably a lot of them use RSS or Atom feeds. But we 
> certainly haven't yet to the place imagined by Annotea: an annotation 
> layer for the Web that allows comments, scribbles, reviews, 
> discussions to be freely interlinked and overlaid using open standard 
> formats and protocols.
> So I'm mailing the relevant (and pretty quiet) lists but cc:'ing 
> semantic-web@w3.org too to ask where folk thing this stuff is heading.
> When is an annotation an annotation, versus a page that happens to be 
> a review, or happens to have as it's primary topic another page? For 
> annotations at the page level, it might be that mainstream RDF work 
> (linked data etc) has fulfilled some of the early promise of Annotea.
> But for the "annotating parts of a page" scenario that lies at the 
> heart of many people's notion of annotations, there doesn't seem to be 
> much happening in terms of practical and widely adopted standards. 
> Lots of startups, experiments etc but they all seem to be islands. And 
> since annotation systems are only really interesting when you have 
> enough annotations to get decent coverage, this seems a pity.
> Thoughts? Am I missing some developments? What would Annotea look like 
> if rebuilt for the Web of 2009? If it's in RDF, the query part would 
> just use SPARQL, and topic classification would be SKOS. What else? Is 
> there implementation experience from Annotea adopters and implementors 
> gathered somewhere? Is there consensus for example on the best bits of 
> information to keep if you want a robust reference to a piece of a 
> potentially evolving page? How well do modern Web design habits (CSS, 
> Ajax etc) interact with the overlay of 3rd party annotations? Is 
> everyone using Firefox addons, javascript bookmarklets and Web proxies 
> or is there some hope for a cross-browser approach on the horizon?
> thanks for any suggestions, thoughts, links etc.
> cheers,
> Dan
Received on Monday, 25 May 2009 01:51:27 UTC

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