I topped 1000 annotations in Hypothesis today. That is a year and 9 months after reaching 100 after the first month, or about 45 per month in total. Almost all of them are public annotations (97%).

While I do use it regularly, I don’t use it daily or at high volume. Annotations are automatically added to my local notes through the Hypothesis API, which is where I continue working on them. About the same number of annotations I make directly from my browser to my notes using a markdown webclipper, mostly when I save an entire article. Any annotations of PDFs I do in Zotero, and then there’s the e-book and paper book annotations. So at most a quarter of my annotations is in Hypothes.is.

In my annotations I have become accustomed to referencing existing notes (I have a little hotkey that lets me search and then paste a note title as markdown link in the annotation), using tags, and adding to-do’s that are picked up by my to-do lists. Things I started doing in the first month, like adding webarchive urls as page note, I still routinely do. All good reduction of friction I find.

I made it possible to post a first page annotation to Hypothes.is directly from my feed reader a year ago. While in theory that is very useful, in practice I’ve used it sparingly. Mostly because I have been spending less time inside my feed reader I think.

Many annotations are just basically bookmarking an article with a first remark for curation and being able to find it back in my own terms. While I do return to some of those for more extensive annotation, that is not often. Partly because I may do that in my local notes, partly because as always you encounter more than you can process. I do regularly re-find my annotations in my notes when searching, which is useful, and that sometimes results in revisiting an article for further annotation.

There is some performance effect involved in public annotation I suspect. I annotate mostly in English and am always aware others may read that. Especially criticism brings that awareness. It makes it feel like a form of blogging, but with an even smaller audience than my blog’s.

The social effect I experience of using Hypothes.is is very small. I’m not involved in annotating groups, which undoubtedly would feel different. I have had some conversation resulting from annotation however, which is always fun.

While I am enthusiastic about Hypothes.is as a tool, it hasn’t become a central tool, nor the primary ‘place’ for annotating things. I wonder if that would be different if I was more capable in interacting more with the API (e.g. to send changes or other annotations sources to H.), or if I could run a personal instance of it and federate that.

I started using Hypothes.is after the summer of 2022 because of reading the book Annotation by Kalir and Garcia in the spring of 2022 (although my Hypothesis account already existed).
My perception of annotations has permanently changed because of reading that book. It is now a much more everyday occurrence and practice within my sense making, not just for academic articles or books, and can take different shapes and forms. Just that most of that takes place outside of Hypothes.is.

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