Three examples of annotations, bookmarking, & sharing in my digital commonplace book

I’ve been experimenting with some IndieWeb philosophies and tools on this site, but more importantly on my breadcrumbs website. My breadcrumbs website is my digital commonplace book. This is inspired by the website philosophy & structure developed by Chris Aldrich.

My purpose is to switch up my relationship with others and social media networks while doing more to own my content online. To that end, one major purpose (for now) on my breadcrumbs site is to be more intentional in the materials that I share with others as I read and explore online.

My current process

As I come across a link, I bookmark it (I’m currently hosting my own using Wallabag) to save it for when I’m back at my computer. I then take some time during the day to open up the links I’ve saved, and start up a new post on my breadcrumbs site. There are a lot of options for types, or “kinds” of posts, but for now I’m mostly using “bookmark” posts to share/archive these links that I’ve shared. These bookmark posts share the title, link, author, and perhaps some description, commentary, or quotes from the post.

I share these posts out on my social networks. IndieWeb tools behind the scenes pull any/all comments, likes, and reactions into the comment feed on the post. The benefit/value for me is that discussions that I have across these spaces are all pulled in, and documented on the original post that I shared out. Previously, I would lose comments on Twitter, Facebook, etc. If a post started up an interesting, multifaceted dialogue…this was all lost in the digital residue as the world moves on.

I also value this experience as it is making my online reading a bit more intentional as I actively take time to read deeply, and (hopefully) carry on discussion with others online. I have a trail of digital breadcrumbs of all of the materials I’m reading online. I use this to write my weekly newsletter. These ideas also become the grist that goes into future ideas, work, etc.

Deeper online reading

As I’ve engaged in this searching, sifting, and synthesizing process, I’ve wondered if I could dig a bit deeper into my reading. Specifically, I’ve noticed that in my bookmarking, I’ve been simplifying content in posts to keep it as minimal as possible. I try to report the facts/details, and provide little (if any) commentary. I include pull quotes from the piece to highlight the important points as I see it.

For me, a breakthrough came when I posted a piece about Interviewing my digital domains. Chris Aldrich took the time to use Hypothesis to mark up my post and archive this all here. He then reflected on this use of highlights and marginalia. All of this had me thinking about opportunities to modify my process as detailed up above, to include Hypothesis to mark up and annotate posts, as opposed to just pulling quotes from the piece.

Over the past week I’ve continued bookmarking sites, playing with Hypothesis integrations, and reaching out to experts online. I had a great discussion with Jon Udell who offered two options to help me in this process. This tool and this tool were each used for other purposes, but each provide some means to an end. Nate Angell also provided a lot of feedback to further my cause. As I’m writing this, Angell brought up a bunch of possible options that might render what I share below moot…but I’ll still document my thinking so far. I then shared this post from my breadcrumbs site to test my thinking up to now. Chris Aldrich shared some feedback to help me refine my process and product.

Three possible options

I built three examples of what this deeper online reading through Hypothesis and my IndieWeb bookmarks could look like. Please take a look at the three, and let me know what you value you see in each. What is the possible “best” option? Is there a better option out there that I have not included?

Option One

In the first option, I shared this post talking about “Robo-Graders” in educational assessments. The post contains the annotations from Hypothesis, but doesn’t provide any links to the specific quotes. The post begins with a link to the source, as well as all annotations in the source in the open for the bookmark.

Option Two

In the second option, I posted this expose about Tim Berners-Lee. I followed the same process of adding in the annotation while removing the date/time stamps. I also moved the link to “all annotations” to the bottom of the post. I have the option to link the main link for the bookmark to the Hypothesis link for “all annotations” on the source, but I’m thinking most readers will want to go directly to the source to read more.

Option Three

For the third option, I saved this bookmark that discusses some research shared in the MIT Technology Review. I included the quotes from one of Jon’s tools, and then pulled links (using Jon’s other tool) to grab a share link that goes directly to the annotation embedded in the source. I used a “smilies” arrow for the link to the annotation. This was based on some feedback from Chris about the use of some sort of fleuron to identify the link to the annotation. I selected the WordPress smilie for an arrow so I could bring up the graphic with a couple of keystrokes, as opposed to adding an image.

I added a link at the bottom of the post to lead directly to the source with the Hypothesis prefix added in.

What do you think?

Across these three options, there some difference that sets each apart. The purpose (for me) in these bookmarks is to identify a space (or process) between Hypothesis and my IndieWeb commonplace site. I want to read, review, and share the link, salient quotes, and perhaps some context for others. The use of Hypothesis helps as I have another series of links behind to “show my work.” I equate this to the inclusion of another set of tweets or related blog posts that I might share. The IndieWeb tools and platform help me share and pull in other related comments and reactions.

Let me know what you think above by using Hypothesis, leaving me comments below, or interacting on the socials. It all works. :)


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Originally published at W. Ian O’Byrne.