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This wiki space contains archival documentation of Project Bamboo, April 2008 - March 2013.

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A key stage in the process of scholarly analysis is annotation. Whatever the object or collection of objects being analyzed, making notes that describe the object and/or its relation to other objects within some frame of reference or hypothesis generally precedes a fully articulated analysis. Annotation can also be considered part of the publication and dissemination processes which follow analysis, as in the development of a scholarly edition.




Proposed/originated by:

Steve Masover

UC Berkeley

Current facilitator(s)



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What tools, standards, organizations, or efforts exist in this area of scholarly practice?


Description - what is it?

URL or other reference


A Firefox web-browser extension that serves as a "research tool that helps you gather, organize, and analyze sources (citations, full texts, web pages, images, and other objects), and lets you share the results of your research in a variety of ways." (quoted by Steve Masover)


"captures and manages all your web bookmarks, bibliographic references, personal notes and a host of other specialised data types (expandable) in a simple, searchable web interface" (quoted by Steve Masover)


An on-line tool that allows one to "highlight the web," "add sticky notes" to web pages, and "create groups to pool resources for specific projects"

Article Authoring Add-in for Word

One of a family of scholar-oriented extensions to Microsoft products. As described in an article in the Chronicle of Higher Education, "the Article Authoring Add-in for Word 2007 enables authors to structure and annotate their documents according to formats that publishers and digital archives require. The articles can then be converted easily to formats that facilitate their digital storage and preservation. The company is offering the new software free to licensed users of Word and other Microsoft products." (htto://


"The Resource Description Framework (RDF) is a language for representing information about resources in the World Wide Web."

W3C's RDF Primer

Annotators Workbench

Produced as part of the EVIA digital archive initiative for ethnomusicology media annotation, a joint project of Indiana University and University of Michigan. The tool suite also includes a peer review tool, a promotion and tenure review tool, and metadata and vocabulary management tools.

EVIA Digital Archive at Indiana University

Project Pad

Media annotation and teaching/collaboration tool, supporting a wide range of formats and synchronous interaction between instructor and student. Integrates into repositories and Sakai.

Project Pad at Northwestern


Pliny "facilitates note-taking and annotation -- a key element of Humanities research for many scholars. It attempts to go further than this, however, by providing a set of facilities allowing its user to integrate these initial notes into a representation of an evolving personal interpretation -- perhaps one of the key goals of scholarly research."

Pliny at King's College London


An application for the close reading and scholarly analysis of deeply tagged texts.

WordHoard at Northwestern

What tools, standards, organizations, or efforts are missing from this area of scholarly practice?


Description - what is it?

URL or other reference

sound_byte_name_or_description (your_name)

summary_description (your_name)

What part of this area of scholarly practice is within Project Bamboo scope, and why?


Description - what is it?

Why is it in scope?

sound_byte_name_or_description (your_name)

summary_description (your_name)

explanation_of_why_in_scope (your_name)

What part of this area of scholarly practice is outside Project Bamboo scope, and why?


Description - what is it?

Why is it out of scope?

sound_byte_name_or_description (your_name)

summary_description (your_name)

explanation_of_why_out_of_scope (your_name)


References (e.g., material from Workshop 1 notes or flipcharts)


  •  "Tagging snippets/objects; create classifications; create taxonomies/clouds of tags, folksonomies (for community, for self)" (ex. 2 & 3 flipcharts, 1a-B)
  • "A WYSIWYG tool for marking up texts/objects" (ex. 7 flipcharts, 1a-B)
  • "Engage users in folksonomic tagging, giving meaning to a scholarly object, identifying the value or significance of a scholarly object" (ex. 4 scribe notes, 1b-C)
  • "Instructional markup. We often have to comment on students' work. Some people prefer to use a pen, others would like to have some digital tools. There ought to be an easy way to do it." (ex. 6 scribe notes, 1c-B)
  • "digital equivalent of the post-it note" (ex. 3 scribe notes, 1d-F)

Steve Masover

  • "Electronic capture remediates the experience, and so it changes the observance. As such, live annotation is crucial to capturing the experience. This is in the context of a language and grammar of dance. May be used to choreograph, or to analyze observed motion. Human, manual process, but hoping that can train machine to do some." (ex. 2 scribe notes, 1a-C)
  • Identified as part of "sifting" and "elaborating" (ex. 3 scribe notes, 1d-G)
  • Identified as part of "sense-making" (ex. 3 scribe notes, 1b-D).
  • Identified as part of "sense-making", along with "abstracting, annotating, assumption-linking, concept-splitting, emitting, extracting, goal-shifting, linking, matching, negotiating, segmenting, source-linking, stemming, zoning, ordering, articulation, a concordant discordance --> plotted into a narrative" (ex. 4 scribe notes, 1b-A)
  • "Annotation, or cross-reference. 'Every architecture needs to allow for conflicting statements about things'" (ex. 3 scribe notes, 1d-H)
  • Annotation aids in later discovery as well as assisting analytical process at the time. There is a need for taxonomies which evolve over time. (ex. 4 scribe notes, 1d-D)
  • Can serve as storage for assumptions (ex 4 scribe notes 1d-G)
  • "A fair number of film annotation projects. If anything, there's a lot of redundancy. No convergence yet around any project." (ex. 5 scribe notes 1c-D)
  • "What's coming up in scholarship: tremendous pain points around software support for scholarship has to be around annotation" (ex. 6a scribe notes 1c-C)
  • "sharing of citations and annotations applied to research environments across institutions." (ex 6b scribe notes 1d-A)
  • " i want to find all the (chinese) texts that exist relevant to a subject, in rank order of relevance, and thhen all the secondary work that has made use of those texts, and then hving chosing the text i want to pay attention to i want the text to be fully annotated for dates places persons titles whatever else." (ex 6b scribe notes 1d-D)

Kaylea Hascall Champion

  • "Commentary is one way to convey interpretation, and it can be embodied as annotation. Such annotation needs one or more points of attachment within the corpus of material under study. Multiple classes of commentary may be needed. Annotations may address only the author, or may be written to be shared. An annotation may have provenance, for example it may have been peer-reviewed itself or have been the subject of commentary. Provenance of the annotation may need to be preserved. And, annotations should attach to any type of media and should be able to contain any kind of media." ("Summit on Digital Tools for the Humanities," UVA, 2005, Final Report: Interpretation, p. 7)
  • "Tokenize, segment the resource (automatically or manually); Name and rename parts; Align annotation with parts (including time-based material); vary or match the notation of the original content; Sort and rearrange the resource (perhaps in something as formal as a semantic concordance, perhaps just in some unspecified relationship); Identify and analyze patterns that arise out of relationships; Code relationships, perhaps in a way that encourages the emergence of an ontology of relationships (Allow formalizations to emerge, or to be brought to bear from the outset, or to be absent)" ("Summit on Digital Tools for the Humanities," UVA, 2005, Final Report: Interpretation, p 7)
  • A "highlighter's tool" should have the following attributes (from list in ("Summit on Digital Tools for the Humanities," UVA, 2005, Final Report: Interpretation, p 9):
    • Work with texts, images, time-dependent media, annotated resources, or no
      primary source at all.
    • Work on-line or off-line.
    • Allow the user to demarcate multiple parts of interest (visually or by hand) according to a user-specified rule or an existing markup language specified in a standard grammar.
    • Allow the user to classify the highlighting according to that user's own evolving organizational structure, or according to an existing ontology/taxonomy specified in some standard grammar.
    • Allow the user to cluster, merge, link, and overlap the demarcated parts.
    • Allow the user to attach annotation to the demarcated parts.
    • Allow the user to attach annotations to clusters and/or links.
    • Allow the user to search at least categories of annotations, e.g. the user's own annotations.
    • Produce output in some standard grammar.
    • Accept its own output as input.
    • Allow the user to do these things in arbitrary order.
    • Allow the user to zoom to or select arbitrary levels of detail.
  • "a server-side repository that would aggregate information from searches and annotations" ("Summit on Digital Tools for the Humanities," UVA, 2005, Final Report: Exploration of Resources, p. 14)
  • "Tools to translate between representation-rich formats at a sophisticated level, with annotation and toleration for limited ambiguity." ("Summit on Digital Tools for the Humanities," UVA, 2005, Final Report: Collaboration, p. 16)

Steve Masover

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