Annotation Studio screenshot

What is Annotation Studio?

Annotation Studio is a suite of tools for collaborative web-based annotation, currently under development by MIT’s HyperStudio. Annotation Studio actively engages students in interpreting primary sources such as literary texts and other humanities documents. Currently supporting the multimedia annotation of texts, Annotation Studio will ultimately allow students to annotate video, image, and audio sources.

With Annotation Studio, students can develop traditional humanistic skills such as close reading and textual analysis while also advancing their understanding of texts and contexts by linking and comparing original documents with sources, adaptions, or variations in different media formats. Instead of passively reading, students are discovering, annotating, comparing, sampling, illustrating, and representing – activities that John Unsworth has dubbed “scholarly primitives.”

Annotation Studio is currently being used in classes throughout the humanities and social sciences, nationally and internationally, from high schools to community colleges to Ivy League universities.  The project has also received funding through a Digital Humanities Start-up grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Annotation Studio video: a student's experience

A Focus on Pedagogy

Annotation Studio is rooted in a technology-supported pedagogy that has been developing in MIT literature classes over the past decade. By enabling users to tag texts using folksonomies rather than TEI, Annotation Studio allows students to practice scholarly primitives quite naturally, thereby discovering how literary texts can be opened up through exploration of sources, influences, editions, and adaptations. In other words, Annotation Studio’s tools and workspaces help students hone skills traditionally used by professional humanists.