Annotags: a Decentralized Textual Annotation Protocol

Jonathan Reeve

24 July 2015

Conversations in the Margins

Conversations in the Margins
Conversations in the Margins


  • How can we tweet about specific parts of a book?
  • #HarryPotterAndTheSorcerer'sStonePage23Paragraph11 isn't practical.
  • How can we write in the margins of ebooks?
  • How can we have conversations in the margins?

Centralized Solutions

  • CommentPress, Socialbook, Annotation Studio, Ebrary
  • Annotations live on the central server.
  • The size of the virtual margins are limited by the structure of the web page.

Annotags: a Decentralized Solution

  • Not a product, platform, or service.
  • A protocol for encoding text metadata into a hashtag.
  • These hashtags can be posted to Twitter, Facebook, private blogs.
  • Annotags can even be written on paper and sent in the mail.



Anatomy of an Annotag


  • First letter connotes the type of bibliographic identifier (ISBN, OCLC, short DOI).
  • Following letters contain the identifier, encoded in base-62 for brevity.
  • Suffix contains a human-readable text location. Here, page 23.

How Can I Make One?