Annotating the Web

This week in class we discussed the ways that annotations can be used to bring new aspects to websites, articles and digitized material to improve understanding these items.  We mainly focused on the use of annotations in digitized manuscripts especially on projects by the British Library and Library and Archives Canada, Spanish flu records, where these organizations sought for broadening the transcriptions of these documents by allowing the general public to leave annotations.  The discussion included the potential danger and advantages that allowing public annotations on documents may cause and the ways that the annotations can help democratize the process of sharing information as they are by nature publicly available and visible if one breaks the barrier to entry on entering the world of annotations.  one key issue that we discussed regarding annotations was the lack of a set series of standards that could govern or give uniformity and consistency among the varying programs that allow for annotation which causes a definite barrier to entry for people to begin annotating documents.  The readings provided also discussed the reluctance of institutions to allow for such systems to be used publicly and then related back to there own systems as well as the reluctance of scholars to embrace the use of annotations among availability to the public.  We also discussed the embracing of annotations among institution such as Harvard university and the exciting prospects that can stem from wider spread of the adoption and the future that it may hold.