How and why we annotate: An annotation taxonomy


David Rowe

Author Addresses: 

Faculty of Computer Science
Dalhousie University
6050 University Ave.
PO Box 15000
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
B3H 4R2


How and why users annotate was examined and an annotation taxonomy was developed and justified with a study of students annotations on research papers. In the study we found that most students used annotation to aid in reading and understanding the research papers. Further, highlighting and text-based annotations were the most commonly used types. The most common uses of annotation appears to be interpretation and place- marking and aiding memory. The results of the study will aid in the evolution from paper-based annotation to digital-based annotation. Research shows there has been little recent research in paper-based annotation and its application to digital based annotation technologies. This is important as there is evidence that current digital based annotation technologies are insufficient and deter users because of technological and functional limitations.

Tech Report Number: 
Report Date: 
June 1, 2011
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