Content Addressable Reading

Over the past day I've taken more notice to a common practice from a couple blogs I follow.

Highlighting and bookmarking passages from their web reading.

Simple, yes, but the more I see these bookmarks the more I understand how useful they are – not only to the reader but to me as a reader of the reader.

The highlight is sometimes the only glimpse of an article I'll see. Even so, having that level of context from the blogger allows me to grasp meaning from it. Because I read the writing of the person who is doing the reading for me, their highlighted passages curate for me. Many posts on this blog have come from such highlighted passages. Highlighting and bookmarking are important in that sense, because hyperlexia is a reality on the web. Having different perspectives from which to observe blind spots, then, is crucial.

I come back to a point Jon Udell expressed – context is a service that we can provide others. Because on the base level, highlighting and bookmarking is beneficial to you. But then, once they're on the web, they become potentially beneficial for others – all from making your reading content-addressable.

There are many approaches to take. This post took form because of fellow user Dino's bookmark posts ( in that sense it's a #ResponseToDino). The simplicity of the post format allows me to receive value from Dino's reading. It lets you focus on one to two passages and gives you context as to why Dino found the article meaningful. Hypothesis has also been a big way for me to catch highlights and annotations from what I've read on the web. The catch, however, is that those annotations stay on Hypothesis – it cannot be serviceable to anyone unless they too have an Hypothesis account/extension. This makes me wonder about ways to make those annotations more accessible – publishing to my blog for instance using a similar approach to Dino. That way my reading can become content-addressable.

Experimentation coming soon...