Adding social annotations to electronic dokuments
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- Institutt for design 
While annotations have been common in normal books for a long time it has never been a big hit in electronic documents. In normal books it has been proven that it can be useful to make annotations and to read other peoples old annotations. As electronic learning material is becoming more and more common a positive effect of adding such shared annotations should also be possible there. This thesis explores what attributes such a system would need to maximize the utility readers get from an annotated text and the technical challenges with implementing such a system. As previous studies have not found any conclusive results about the effect that sharing annotations have on readers this is also investigated by trying an implemented system on users. The fact that annotations change the structure of a documents based on how users annotate it is also discussed and suggestions are made to potential useful applications of this new structure. Based on a structured analysis of previous research and other implementations a set of attributes important for a shared annotation system are presented. A prototype system that attempts to implement a set of these attributes was also created to get insight into the technical challenges encountered. A set of common challenges were found and solved, with a solution for asynchronously updating annotations being the most novel solution found, but the whole system is a good example of a mash-up of different solutions. Users were also interviewed about the use of the system and they are all positive about the implications of a sharing annotations and think it will make it easier to effectively find additional material about a subject. As previous studies this indicates that students have at least a positive view on using such a system.