Contextual Quotes with Annotation

Adding Hypothesis to your blog brings about about the benefit of in-line annotation for your posts — contextual highlights & comments. That power of contextualization can also extend to the texts you quote within your blog.

The usual courtesy of quotation in blogs is adding a link to the source. When a reader clicks on that, they're taken right to the beginning. Any context from your post is erased. What if the link could retain some context from your thoughts around the quotation as they relate to your post? This is where the quotation linking to a Hypothesis annotation could prove useful. Take the below block quote as an example:

i think theseus would have enjoyed the world wide web in 1997; the adventure and excitement that it fostered. its labyrinthine shape full of passages, turns, tunnels, and the unknown. websites often eschewed the formal navigation systems we have come to rely on and expect in favour of more open-ended or casual solutions. moving around a site—much like moving around the web in general—was a journey that embraced the forking, wandering naturing of hypertext and allowed the user—with varying degrees of agency—to choose their own path through cyberspace, the hero of their own self-authored epic.


When you click Go to text, it takes you to a Hypothesis link — the highlighted quotation with a previous annotation of mine. The annotation can be as detailed as you want it to be. You could even just have the annotation link to your blog post (or the spot where you quote the passage). What's more, the Hypothesis link allows a reader to go beyond the quoted passage and read your other annotations of the text. Perhaps you wonder what the author thinks of other parts of the text she quotes in a post — now you can. These additional annotations could lead to other blog posts she's written that quote the text.

Interesting possibilities can come from extending annotations not only to your blog but to the texts your blog quotes — adding context to a post through intentional hyperlinks. I am reminded of a great point from Toby Shorin about finding a balance with the affordances the web can offer text:

This all suggests that a compromise must be struck between the coherence of a text and the new opportunities for knowledge work afforded by the fundamental capabilities of the medium: the internet’s connectivity, the screen’s frame rate.