Marginalia have served as instantiations of a rich reader engagement with a text for centuries. This project takes advantage of the fact that digital annotations unlike analog annotations include metadata about both the reader and the reading conditions. We take timestamps of annotation events as proxies of users’ reading path. It is an attempt to visualize the „act of reading“ (Wolfgang Iser: The Implied Reader, 1974), and analyze the reading patterns across genres and with reference to readers.
We brainstormed this project with dr. Kurt Fendt, a digital humanities scholar from MIT’s HyperStudio. I then interned with Hyperstudio to instantiate the idea and attempt integrating the tool into the Annotation Studio collaborative reading environment. The project is still running.
I developed a pilot proof-of-concept visualization, and was fortunate enough to present the preliminary outcomes at the wonderful Annotations @Harvard conference. You can download the pilot as a Linux, Mac, or PC script, or get the Processing source code. It is a visualization of a single document about the scientific theories on yawning annotated by various users. The annotation data were scraped from AnnotationStudio and anonymized.