[sugar] Annotation (was Re: Viewing PDFs from Browse)

Michael Stone michael
Mon Oct 13 15:28:32 EDT 2008

On Mon, Oct 13, 2008 at 11:02:03AM -0400, Samuel Klein wrote:
>Annotation is different from editing and original creation.

Unless you are being intentionally vague (as I often am), please be more
precise. I argue that since annotation is clearly comprised of both
editing and original creation of a new work based on or in reference to
some older works, it cannot be _wholly_ different from both editing and
original creation. 

>A user can in fact annotate a file or document they do not have

I don't believe you -- or perhaps I simply reject your usage of the word
"have". Example, please?

> I find that use case more likely than the alternative; I
>have never succeeded in pushing a book report upstream into a
>publisher's next edition.

a) You've never contributed errata to an author? 

b) I imagine, perhaps incorrectly, that remote annotation works best
with a cheap well-functioning network. Do you agree?

>Annotation, commentary, and review should be cleanly separated from
>[ownership of] the original document or media file.

No comment yet; let's see where you go with this.

>A set of annotations is in general much smaller on disk, 

Why would you assume that annotations occur in the same medium as the
original work? For example, I could easily imagine calling a video-taped
lecture about a book or collection of photos an "annotation".

> much more frequently versioned, 

Evidence or reasoning please?

> and more likely to need sharing (rather than
>independent discovery of copies of the same work) than originals.

This also makes little sense to me.

>A set of annotations made to one version of a document are also
>relevant to other versions, 

They are sometimes relevant; it seems to me to depend on the
rate-of-churn of the annotated work. Another problem is that it's often
unclear whether you want to annotate a work or the context in which
the work occurred.

>Conversely defining annotations such that they exist separately from a
>document helps make different sets of annotations overlay with one

Perhaps, but it also tends to curtail their visibility.

>To use your image-drawing example, if there is an original image that
>I can expect others to have seen, and I am drawing on top of it, I
>would indeed hope that the drawing is stored in such a way that the
>original can be deciphered 

_Why_ do you prefer immutable history to destructive updates? I can do
rather things with liberal application of scissors, paint, and glue
which are just as valuable (though they are non-invertible) as the
things I can do with my version control system. (The point being that
destructive updates are fine to me, and if history is needed, then they
can be applied to a copy.)

> -- so that if you and I draw different
>things, I can tell that it was on the same image, 

It's not necessary for the original content to be _decipherable_; it's
enough for the original content to be _recognizable_ should you
encounter it again (or want to go looking for it).

> or add our two
>drawings together, or switch from mine to yours simply by exchanging
>"drawing layers" rather than exchanging the entire image.  If you
>store my mona lisa mustache by modifying the mona lisa in place on my
>machine, this is hard to separate out in the future.

So what? If your system is too hard to build or to run then I probably
wouldn't have been able to draw my mona lisa mustache in the first
place, in which case we'd both be poorer.

>After passing through a world with millions of works and terabytes of
>data, the small part of this that I hope to preserve as my own gloss
>and memory of it, the part I might keep in a real journal, is
>effectively my set of annotations, assessments, margin notes : these
>should be built deeply into [Sugar], and the usability and sharability
>of them refined.

Great; have you got your own programmers for this task, are you trying
to tempt folks here, or both? (I inquire because your email seems to me
to be suited to neither of these audiences.)

>See also [[annotation]] on the wiki, for the above and for discussion
>of how to link annotations to words, pages, collections, collaboration
>sessions, and projects; similarities b/t comments, discussions,
>annotation and review; &c.

Prior work in this area is worth citing; to that end, I have created an
appropriate section at the bottom of your [[Annotation]] page. If you
actually want to build something here, then please help fill it out.

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