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Digital Bookmarking and Annotation Sharing

The Digital Bookmarking and Annotation Sharing Working Group was formed following discussion meetings funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation held in October 2011 in Frankfurt, Germany, and San Francisco, CA.

The group's goal is to develop a standard syntax for how bookmarks and notes should be located in a digital text, especially in online environments that might be continually updated or mutable.

Statement of problem: The ability to accurately refer to a specific location within a digital text is fundamental for bookmarking and annotations in a digital environment. For both casual readers as well as professional and academic researchers, such pointers must be recognized across reading systems to enable social uses of books, articles and grey literature that range from personal memory aids, to citations and critical analysis, as well as deep inter-linking. For a functional system of annotation to work effectively, there must be consistent, definable and widely adopted reference-point systems for digital texts.

The potential audience for such a standard is broad, impacting nearly all sectors of online publishing. A standard would be a major element of any major digital book or text distribution platform, such as Amazon’s Kindle, Barnes & Noble’s nook, Apple’s iBook or other providers of platforms for scholarly texts. Annotation portability is the cornerstone of a large number of social reading experiences, and many media commentary services. Most directly, a standard would enhance the experience of digital book readers interested in bookmarking and annotation support. This standard could also be adopted by scholarly journal publishers and any other party interested in such specific citability and sharing.