INLS 501: Digital Annotation

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There are many forms of reference work, of varying degrees of media richness: synchronous forms of reference (e.g., face-to-face, telephone, chat / IM, etc.) tend to be richer than asynchronous forms (e.g., email, paper mail, etc.). All of these forms of reference, however, require some form of interaction between the user and the librarian, even if that interaction is at a physical and/or temporal remove. These forms of reference are referred to as direct reference. Indirect reference is an equally important form of reference, however, and involves no interaction at all between the user and the librarian. Indirect reference involves the proactive creation of information resources by librarians for users' use, either with a librarian's assistance or by self-serving.

Digital libraries have existed now for well over a decade, and many have matured from experimental efforts to operational collections and services, integrated into the library's collection, policies, and funding. Consequently, librarians are beginning to focus on provided value-added services with digital resources. While most of what we would consider reference work associated with digital libraries has taken the form of email, chat, or other types of direct reference, indirect reference is becoming an increasingly important function for librarians with regard to digital materials.

Annotation has a long and rich history (Agosti, et al., 2007); digital annotation builds on the historical use of annotation to assist scholars and enhance access in this new digital information environment. As Agosti, et al. write: "Annotations support user communities in accessing the information resources provided by the digital library in a personalized and customized way: indeed users can create annotations that link different documents, enabling alternative paths for browsing digital content and thus structuring them in different ways" (p. 12).

This is a group assignment. Each group will be given a set of digital documents to annotate and a web template in which to enter the annotation. The source for each annotation should be referenced using APA-style format and should provide a URL if it references another web source or digital document.

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