Over the past few weeks I have had the pleasure of co-authoring a conversation about web annotation for the “disrupted” issue of the Journal of Media Practice. My co-author is none other than my dear friend and colleague Jeremy Dean, Director of Education at Hypothesis. Our conversation about the practices and politics of web annotation is intended to be more than a two-way exchange. As we state in our introduction:

We have each chosen specific keywords and offered the other an initial provocation. A dialogue ensued. Once published online, this dialogue will be interrupted through the practice of web annotation itself as we invite colleagues to join our conversation and further open the growing discourse to the public.

We have performed a scholarly dialogue and invited interpretation of that conversation through the modern social media practice of web annotation. One challenge is whether – or how – this conversation becomes generative of traditional scholarship, such as a more linear, peer-reviewed article. We recognize that this distributed conversation may in the end be too ethereal or too noisy, testing our ability to subsequently and usefully capture and represent a layered, versioned textual experience as more conventional academic prose. We embrace the emergent and unpredictable quality of web annotation as an opportunity to remark upon and disrupt scholarly communication and knowledge production.

So what happens now? We hope various collaborators interested in web annotation will join, extend, challenge, and amplify this conversation. Here are a few practical steps:

  1. Visit our contribution Web Annotation as Conversation and Interruption
  2. The web annotation platform Hypothesis will load automatically, so either log in or sign up (to create a Hypothesis account, an easy two-step and free process)
  3. As you read and annotate our conversation, please include the following two tags with each of your annotations: disruptedjournal and performativepublishing (both tags are all one word, and don’t require a # like a tag on Twitter). Here is a tutorial on how to add a Hypothesis tag to an annotation.
  4. Jeremy and I will keep a close eye on the growing annotation conversation, adding our additional thoughts and questions along the way. You can also follow all Hypothesis annotation activity tagged performativepublishing here.

This is an emergent experiment in open knowledge production, peer review, and the publication of disruptive media. And it’s all a bit meta as we both write about and use the platform Hypothesis to embrace the complexity and opportunity of open and collaborative web annotation. We hope you jump in and join our conversation.

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