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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Commercial? Yes
Type of site Social Annotations, Highlighting
Created by Textensor Limited
Launched Jan 2008
Current status Active

A.nnotate [1] is a web service for storing and annotating documents. Documents are either uploaded by the user or fetched from a web address supplied by the user. Uploads are accepted as PDF, Microsoft Word, office formats supported by OpenOffice and common image formats. When a URL of a web page is entered, the service makes a local copy of the HTML and stylesheet. The service offers a browser bookmarklet to facilitate making snapshots of web pages.

Uploaded documents are rendered as images on the server and the images are sent to the user's browser for display and annotation. Annotation with regions and arrows is supported for all documents. For text documents, the server also sends the positions of words on the page allowing the client to offer text search and highlighting. Annotations can be displayed in the right-hand margin, as floating boxes above the text, or as footnotes. For web snapshots they can also be displayed within the main text flow.

By default, all documents and annotations are private. A user can issue invitations by email to allow other users to view and annotate a particular document or to access all documents in a folder. A "reply" option on annotations allows other users to comment on existing annotations offering a form of Threaded discussion. Access controls allow the document owner to specify what annotators may do, including viewing each others annotations and defining new tags.


A.nnotate development

Early development of A.nnotate was enabled by proof-of-concept funding to Textensor Limited[2], [3] from the Scottish Government for a project on authoring structured content from text [4]. The resulting software, "Notate" is described in a white paper from 2007 [5] which included support for semantic web authoring.

In 2008 the company started selling standalone versions of the system for installation on local hardware and developed an API[6] allowing web application developers and systems integrators to add annotation capabilities to existing document management systems. It offers off the shelf modules for integration with Documentum and Moodle.

According to the case study on Entrepedia [7] A.nnotate makes use of Cloud computing on to scale its services.

File formats and requirements

Documents are accepted as PDF, Microsoft Office formats, ODF formats and images as PNG, JPEG and GIF. The client browser requires javascript and cookies to be enabled. A.nnotate can be used with Firefox, Internet Explorer (versions 6, 7 ,and 8), Safari or Google chrome [8]


The first release received positive coverage from many bloggers, e.g.: "I have yet to find the perfect online collaboration tool. A.nnotate is a service that gets as close as anything I've found on the Web." on [9]; CNET calls it a "real fun annotation tool (at least fun compared to Microsoft Word)" [10]; OpenJason includes it in their list of 44 excellent productivity tools [11]; LifeHacker discusses its uses for peer review [12]; KillerStartups says it seems "very easy to use" [13]

Others warn that people have actually been trying to get annotation right for over a decade [14] and mention alternatives to A.nnotate such as Reframe It, Evernote, Fleck, WebNotes and TrailFire. notes that to date "annotations ... haven't really taken off" [15] and wonders if A.nnotate can finally bring document annotation to life. business tips notes that "online collaboration is a crowded party" [16]. The Library 2.0 blog notes that it could be very useful in education for marking assignments, but considers pricing a possible drawback as the free version limits the number of documents you can upload [17] Alternatives listed on the AlternativeTo site include Foxit and Adobe reader [18]

The ability to import PDF files [19] has lead some people to use it a replacement for Google docs for annotating PDFs. [20]

See also


  1. ^ "Upload, Annotate, Share. Online document review and collaboration - PDF, Word and HTML". 2008-05-20. Retrieved 2009-06-09.  
  2. ^ "Textensor Limited". Retrieved 2009-06-09.  
  3. ^ "Textensor Company Profile". Retrieved 2009-06-09.  
  4. ^
  5. ^ Enhancing documents with annotations and machine-readable structured information using Notate
  6. ^ "A.nnotate API described on". Retrieved 2009-06-09.  
  7. ^ "A.nnotate: Document Annotation Using Cloud Computing - Entrepedia: The Entrepreneurship Wiki". Entrepedia. 2009-05-22. Retrieved 2009-06-09.  
  8. ^ "Technical summary: document and image annotation and storage". Retrieved 2009-06-09.  
  9. ^ "Mark Up Your Documents with A.nnotate". Retrieved 2009-06-09.  
  10. ^ Lowensohn, Josh. "Give documents dynamic sticky notes with A.nnotate | Webware - CNET". Retrieved 2009-06-09.  
  11. ^ "44 Excellent Productivity Tools". OpenJason. 2008-07-28. Retrieved 2009-06-09.  
  12. ^ Purdy, Kevin (2008-05-22). "A.nnotate Shares Documents for Peer Review - Notes". Lifehacker. Retrieved 2009-06-09.  
  13. ^ " - Documents Online | Visit". Retrieved 2009-06-09.  
  14. ^ "Glosses through the ages". Retrieved 2009-06-09.  
  15. ^ "A.nnotate Finally Brings Document Annotation To Life". 2008-05-23. Retrieved 2009-06-09.  
  16. ^ Johnson, Dave (2009-03-23). "Collaborate on a Document with A.nnotate | Business Hacks | BNET". Retrieved 2009-06-09.  
  17. ^ "Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools for Group Projects. « Library Instruction @ NSU Muskogee". 2009-05-19. Retrieved 2009-06-09.  
  18. ^ "Alternatives to A.nnotate". Retrieved 2009-06-09.  
  19. ^ Posted by mgvh (2008-06-05). "Biblical Studies and Technological Tools: Annotating, bibliography, and citation". Retrieved 2009-06-09.  
  20. ^ "Blog Archive » Free online PDF annotation tool". 2008-05-30. Retrieved 2009-06-09.  


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