Semantically enabled collaboration via annotation
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Semantically Enabled Collaboration via Annotation. Ian Lumb CANHEIT 2007. Outline. Introduction Annozilla Examples Implementation Standards Semantic Web Discussion. erin.el : Emacs editing mode for TWiki pages

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Semantically Enabled Collaboration via Annotation

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Semantically Enabled Collaboration via Annotation

Ian Lumb



  • Introduction

  • Annozilla

    • Examples

    • Implementation

    • Standards

  • Semantic Web

  • Discussion

erin.el: Emacs editing mode for TWiki pages

Annotating with Annozilla

  • Contextually rich and expressive editorial metadata

    • Non-invasive

    • Pre-categorized

    • Of flexible usage

  • Empowering but not distracting or overwhelming

    • Encourages sequential processing

  • Best suited to static Web pages

    • Effort required to ensure relevance in wikis

  • Stored locally or remotely

Annotation goes mainstream!

Annotation Servers

  • Local Server

  • Remote Servers

    • W3C

    • DIY

      • Linux

      • Perllib

      • MySQL

        • RDF datastore

      • Apache

        • Annotations script

        • Access control

        • Access script

        • Algae script

Annotations with Google Earth

J. Freemantle, OARS Presentation, December 2006


  • “Annotation is the linking of a new commentary node to someone else's existing node. It is the essence of a collaborative hypertext.”

    • TBL, W3 Archive, c. 1990

  • "... the addition of information to existing documents without changing the originals.”

    • Passin, Explorer’s Guide to the Semantic Web, 2004


  • “Annotations are comments, notes, explanations, or other types of external remarks that can be attached to a Web document or a selected part of the document. As they are external, it is possible to annotate any Web document independently, without needing to edit that document. From the technical point of view, annotations are usually seen as [editorial] metadata, as they give additional information about an existing piece of data.”

    • Amaya 9.52, W3C






Modified Document

Original Document

+ Annotation


Dissecting an Annozilla Annotation

<?xml version="1.0"?>

<RDF:RDF xmlns:NS4=""






RDF - Resource Description Framework

  • A framework for describing resources on the web

    • Makes relationships explicit

  • Provides a model for data, and a syntax so that independent parties can exchange and use it

  • Designed to be read and understood by computers

    • Not designed for being displayed to people

  • Written in XML

  • Part of the W3C's Semantic Web Activity

  • A W3C Recommendation



Dissecting an Annozilla Annotation (2)

<NS2:Question RDF:about="urn:annot1541202659"

NS4:creator="Ian Lumb"




"[1]/body[1]/div[1]/div[1]/div[1]/div[1]/div[1]/div[1]/div[1]/div[2]/div[4]/div[1]/p[1], &quot;&quot;, 337, 139))"


<NS3:annotates RDF:resource=""/>

<NS3:body RDF:resource="urn:body1541202659"/>


Dissecting an Annozilla Annotation (2a)







Ian Lumb




&quot;&quot;, 337, 139))


XPointer - XML Pointer Language

  • An extension of XPath

    • XPath is used by XLink to locate remote link resources

  • Relative addressing

    • Allows links to places with no anchors

  • Flexible and robust

    • XPointer/XPath expressions often survive changes in the target document

  • Can point to substrings in character data and to whole tree fragments

  • Status

    • The key specification is a Working Draft in the W3C’s Recommendation Track

Dissecting an Annozilla Annotation (3)

<RDF:Description RDF:about="">

<NS1:annotatedBy RDF:resource="urn:annot1541202659"/>


<RDF:Description RDF:about="urn:body1541202659"

NS1:bodyText="&lt;html xmlns=&quot;;&gt;&lt;head&gt;&lt;title&gt;&lt;/title&gt;&lt;/head&gt;&lt;body&gt;

This is a good start. Can you do a little more on the incorporation side?

&lt;br/&gt;&lt;/body&gt;&lt;/html&gt;" />





The stack of expressive power



  • Annotation use cases

    • University IT team’s static and wiki Web

  • Annotations via Annozilla

    • Accessible client/server, standards-based implementation

  • Annotations as external editorial metadata

    • Consistent with Web 2.0 social bookmarking plus some Google technologies

    • Inconsistent with office suites, wikis, formal ontologies

  • Transform data into information into knowledge

    • Realizing the vision of a Semantic Web

      • Web 3.0?

Future Work

  • Support ongoing development of Annozilla

    • Go forth and annotate!

  • Refactor definition of annotation

    • Develop single schema for annotation types/properties

      • XPointer and OWL each have their own

  • Semantically base annotations

  • Automate annotation ???

  • Consider XPointer-based annotations as an option

    • Emerging common XML-based schema for Word processing software

    • Google Notebook

  • Applications in other areas

    • Teaching and learning


  • Keith Aldridge

    • Professor, York University

  • Jim Freemantle

    • Independent Consultant

  • Jerusha Lederman

    • Ph.D. Candidate, York University


Additional Slides

Numbering of Nodes and Points

Representing GGP Data via ESML and RDF

Lumb & Aldridge (2005, 2006)

Representing GGP Data via ESML and RDF with Annotation

Lumb et al. (2007)

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