The Open Annotation Collaboration Phase I: Towards a Shared, Interoperable Data Model for Scholarly Annotation

Timothy W. Cole, Myung-Ja Han


This paper reports on preliminary outcomes from Phase I of the Open Annotation Collaboration (OAC), discussing them in the context of illustrative scholarly annotation use cases drawn largely from the domain of renaissance emblem studies. The OAC Phase I project sought to address problems of dysfunction caused by too many different, insufficiently interoperable annotation clients and tools through the development and promulgation of a more resource-centric and web-centric standard for making and disseminating scholarly annotations of Web resources. By focusing on representative use cases and an underlying data model of scholarly annotation more consistent with Semantic Web and Linked Data principles rather than on application-specific or interface-specific issues to do with annotation, the OAC seeks to foster annotation sharing and interoperability. Results to date confirm diverse and complex user requirements in regard to the creation and use of scholarly annotations. Nonetheless, a reasonably straightforward and elastic data model is emerging with seemingly good potential to work across a broad spectrum of scholarly annotation use cases and applications. This suggests for Phase II an opportunity for in-depth, domain-specific experiments to further test and refine the initial OAC data model created.

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