The Future of Research Communications and e-Scholarship

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Annotating All Knowledge Working Group

This working group will support the activities of the Annotating All Knowledge project, launched recently by a coalition of some of the world’s key scholarly publishers, platforms, libraries, and technology organizations.  These organizations are coming together to create an open, interoperable annotation layer over their content. This activity is highly relevant to FORCE11, as we have the capacity as a community to coordinate development and deployment of a new capability specifically designed for 21st century scholarship.  FORCE11 will provide the community platform to coordinate and communicate activities among coalition members and to solicit input and participation from the broader FORCE11 membership.  


Thanks to all who participating in the Annotating All Knowledge Coalition F2F at FORCE2017: Making Annotations FAIR: Supporting Researcher Workflow Through Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable Data Principles, on October 24, 2017, co-located with FORCE2017.  The slides from the panel discussion on FAIR annotations are available;  we’ll be posting a recap of the joing CoKo-AAK meeting soon.  

We are in the process of creating a new home page, a logo and materials for coalition members to announce their participation and grow the AAK Coalition.  

AAK supports the GO FAIR initiative.  And thanks to Pundit for promoting FAIR annotation!

Read:  Adventures in Interoperability, explorations of interoperability between Pundit and Hypothesis

Presentation on AAK at I Annotate 2017


Thanks to all who participated in the Face to Face meeting at FORCE2016.  Outcomes are summarized on the meeting page. 


Scholars are natural annotators, as the process of creating new knowledge requires building on what’s come before. For decades web pioneers have imagined such a native and universal collaborative capability over the Web. Many projects have experimented with it, yet in 2015 we’re still stuck with the same patchwork of proprietary commenting systems, only available in some places.

In the last few years a small community has been working to change that. Their goal is to standardize “annotation” as a unit of conversation built into the very fabric of the Web. In late 2014 the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the standards body for the Web, established a formal Working Group to support this standards effort. Much progress has been made, and many implementations are now mature enough to be deployed.

So, in order to bring this capability to the areas where new knowledge is created and published, the coalition has assembled some of the world’s most essential scholarly publishers and knowledge platforms. Coalition members realize that a robust and interoperable conversation layer can transform scholarship, enabling personal note taking, peer review, copy editing, post publication discussion, journal clubs, classroom uses, automated classification, deep linking, and much more. They understand that this layer must evolve as an open, interoperable, and shared capability aligned with the motivations and interests of scholars and researchers. They are agreeing to collaborate openly with their peers, to share experiences, and to work together towards mutual objectives. 

In other words, members are agreeing that annotations should not belong to any one platform and that they should be designed for and operate within the web. 

Goals of the working group:

1)  To develop and implement a strategy for bringing an open, interoperable web-based annotation capability to all scholarly works within 3 years:

  • Focus on both the technical aspects of annotation, as well as the work necessary to drive adoption
  • Share opportunities, challenges, experiments, results and software

2)  To coordinate coalition activities and communicate them to the broader community

  • Be an open forum for the exchange of ideas
  • Unite members under a common objective and establish a tempo

Activities to Date:

1)  Formation of the coalition;  new members welcome! 12/1/15.  See article in Nature for details.

2)  Survey sent to members asking for feedback and requirements 12/15:  A summary of the results to date are available in our Goolge Group folder.  New members of the working group, feel free to fill out the survey.

3)  A steering committee has been formed.  Thank you to all willing to serve.

4)  Kick off meeting set for April 17th at the FORCE 2016 in Portland, as part of the pre-meeting workshops.  Agenda and outcomes for meeting are available from the meeting page.

5)  Convergence on a set of attributes for an interoperable annotation.

6)  Conduct small experiments on interoperability, e.g., Inteoperability between annotation platforms



January 2016:  Collate responses from coalition members about priorities, needs and strategy

February 2016:  Plan kick off meeting based on responses

April 2016:  Kick off meeting at FORCE2016

May 2016:  I Annotate Conference


GROUP EMAIL (Private):



Picture of Dan Whaley

Dan Whaley

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