Annotating the news

Annotating the news: Can online annotation tools help us become better news consumers? by Jihii Jolly.

From the post:

Last fall, Thomas Rochowicz, an economics teacher at Washington Heights Expeditionary Learning School in New York, asked his seniors to research news stories about steroids, drone strikes, and healthcare that could be applied to their class reading of Michael Sandel’s Justice. The students were to annotate their articles using Ponder, a tool that teachers can use to track what their students read and how they react to it. Ponder works as a browser extension that tracks how long a reader spends on a page, and it allows them to make inline annotations, which include highlights, text, and reaction buttons. These allow students to mark points in the article that relate to what they are learning in class—in this case, about economic theories. Responses are aggregated and sent back to the class feed, which the teacher controls.

Interesting piece on the use of annotation software with news stories.

I don’t know how configurable Ponder is in terms of annotation and reporting but being able to annotate web and pdf documents would be a long step towards lay authoring of topic maps.

For example, the “type” of a subject could be selected from a pre-composed list and associations created to map this occurrence of the subject in a particular document, by a particular author, etc. I can’t think of any practical reason to bother the average author with such details. Can you?

Certainly an expert author should have the ability to be less productive and more precise than the average reader but then we are talking about news stories. 😉 How precise does it need to be?

The post also mentions News Genius, which was pointed out to me by Sam Hunting some time ago. Probably better known for its annotation of rap music at rap genius. The only downside I see to Rap/News Genius is that the text to be annotated is loaded onto the site.

That is a disadvantage because if I wanted to create a topic map from annotations of archive files from the New York Times, that would not be possible. Remote annotation and then re-display of those annotations when a text is viewed (by an authorized user) is the sin qua non of topic maps for data resources.

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