annotationHypothesis is browser based annotator which runs in Chrome and Firefox browsers. It does require users to register to post annotations (text, images and links) or reply to comments, but this merely requires a nickname and a confirmed email address.

It is excellent as:

  • A personal web annotation tool
  • A group annotation tool
  • A peer feedback tool*

Groups are easily created and can be named freely as each group has a unique ID to avoid common names being used up!

*Before getting over-excited, I should caution that Hypothesis really only works on pages (or PDF files) that are not protected by a login, which will reduce the number of scenarios it might be deployed in. ¬†However, sharing PDF or image files through an ‘Anyone with the link can read’ type permission is reasonably secure and very, very unlikely to to picked up by Google as a search result. There’s also no moderation, so peer review needs to be limited to individuals who can engage with the process sensibly. NILE does allow us to create a mechanism to control the deployment of annotation links through groups and adaptive release.

This video will give you a basic feel for the application in Chrome and Firefox – there is no need to follow the exact steps taken as there are many ways to achieve the same end (see the link to resources below).


exampleIt’s also possible to collect page annotations together through an RSS feed or your¬†own Hyphothesis account – if these are printed to a PDF, this could be used as part of a portfolio of evidence or assignment.

There are some very useful educator resources on the Hypothesis web site. Doubtless students would need to be given the opportunity to learn how to use it, but it does appear to have great potential.


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