The W3C has announced the publication of three new standards aimed to enable an ecosystem of interoperable products that let the world comment on, describe, tag, and link any resource on the Web. Many websites already allow comments, but current annotation systems rely on unique, usually proprietary technologies chosen and provided by publishers. Notes cannot be shared easily across the Web and comments about a Web page can only be saved and viewed via a single website. Readers cannot select their own tools, choose their own service providers or bring their own communities. The adoption of the Web Annotation standards will spell the end of the phrase “Don’t read the comments!”, returning power to the readers decide where and how they provide and consume such feedback.
What the Web Annotation standards do
- The Annotation Data Model provides the structure and details for any web developer to quickly build out compatible tools and content. It gives use cases and examples for the JSON structures to create and consume.
- The Annotation Vocabulary projects the data model into Linked Data, providing a solid and future-proof foundation to enable extension and semantic understanding. In fact, the JSON structures of the Data Model are already semantic as well as easy to implement, via the magic of the JSON-LD specification.
- The Annotation Protocol provides a simple RESTful HTTP API for communicating among annotation clients and servers, and builds upon the Linked Data Platform specification.
These specifications provide the foundational material for a new generation of annotation tools on the Web while still leaving developers free to address specific use cases with tailored interfaces and services. This will encourage new innovations and the emergence of community-based best practices. For example, The W3C Working Group Note on Embedding Web Annotations in HTML, published concurrently with the three Web Annotation Recommendations, describes and illustrates just a few of the potential approaches for including annotations within HTML documents, serving as a starting point for further discussion, experimentation and development.
Getting This Far and What’s Ahead
The work on the annotation specifications started in 2009 with two independent groups, the Annotation Ontology and the Open Annotation Collaboration (both of which built upon the early W3C project: Annotea). In 2011, the two groups joined forces to help found the W3C Open Annotation Community Group. In 2013 this Community Group published a series of initial draft specifications. 2014 saw the creation of the Web Annotation Working Group to take the work through the standardization process and further the engagement with the web community, resulting in the specifications published on February 23rd, 2017.
As a diverse group of Web developers, publishers, and content creators note below, this work is and will be increasingly important as the volume and speed of information publishing continue to grow. The world has seen a dramatic increase in the spread of misinformation and “fake news”, and the web previously lacked a decentralized, trustworthy mechanism for fact checking and public discussion. Cory Doctorow, of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the award-winning boingboing.net, describes the importance of annotation in this space:
We are absolutely delighted to see these recommendations land and endorse them in full. Though much hard work remains to be done, a formal standard for a universal web annotation layer is a critical step in the development of this promising new paradigm.
The broad, growing interest in Web annotation tools and services magnifies the likely impact of these specifications. As Dan Whaley, of Hypothes.is and the Annotating All Knowledge coalition, notes, the publication of these Recommendations means that:
Annotation has now become a formal part of the Web —– the importance of which cannot be overstated. Over seventy major publishers and platforms under the Annotating All Knowledge coalition have pledged to include interoperable annotations as a collaborative framework over their content, and these implementations can now move forward with confidence. More importantly, browsers can now consider enabling users to listen for conversations on every page on the Web as a native capability.
Another domain that directly benefits from these standards is the multi-billion-dollar e-book publishing sector. Sharing annotations from your ePub reader — whether on your phone, computer, or dedicated device — and interacting with others regardless of their particular platform, enables massive and rapid improvements in teaching and learning at all levels. Patrick Johnston, Director of Platform Architecture, Product Technology, at the publisher John Wiley & Sons, Inc. describes the importance of the work:
We’ve used the Open Annotation Community Group’s Data Model at Wiley for some time. The Web Annotation specifications provide some needed improvements and additional guidance we’re working to implement and look forward to continued collaboration around annotation in digital publishing.
The traditions of scholarly discourse in sharing comments, annotations, etc., is a significant use case which can now be brought into the digital age of scholarly publishing. The same is true in areas like digital cultural heritage. Sheila Rabun is the Community and Communications Officer for the IIIF Consortium (International Image Interoperability Framework), currently consisting of 40 primarily academic and cultural heritage organizations including the national libraries of Britain, France, Israel, Norway, and Poland, and universities such as Stanford, Harvard, Cornell, Yale, Princeton, MIT, Oxford, Cambridge, and Tokyo. She describes the standards’ importance in that community:
The work done in IIIF could not happen without the groundbreaking specifications coming from the Open Annotation and Web Annotation groups. Annotation is a fundamental part of the IIIF model, and our most asked-for and discussed feature in implementations. It increases the visibility of digital cultural heritage and enables distributed online scholarship.
Acknowledgments and Further Information
We would like to thank everyone that has been involved throughout the process. In particular the previous co-chair, Frederick Hirsch; the W3C staff contacts, Ivan Herman and Doug Schepers; the other editors of the specifications, Benjamin Young and Paolo Ciccarese; the members of the Web Annotation Working Group, and the members of the Open Annotation Community Group. We are grateful for the past, present, and future work underway around these specifications.
For further information please contact the Chairs of the Web Annotation Working Group, Dr. Robert Sanderson (J. Paul Getty Trust, email@example.com) and Prof. Timothy Cole (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, firstname.lastname@example.org). To comment on or discuss potential uses of the Web Annotation Recommendations, or to post news and updates about your implementations of these specifications, please join the W3C Open Annotation Community Group.
Today’s post comes from Jason Clingerman, Digital Public Access Branch Chief at the National Archives.
Are you looking to sharpen your research skills? We’re exploring some of the most requested records at the National Archives and how to search for them in the Catalog. Today we’ll take a closer look at the Applications for Enrollment in the Five Civilized Tribes, 1898-1914, also known as the Dawes Rolls, a popular search by researchers in the National Archives Catalog.
What are the Dawes Rolls?
The Dawes Commission, known formally as the Commission to the Five Civilized Tribes, was appointed by President Grover Cleveland in 1893 and headed by Henry L. Dawes to negotiate land with the Cherokee, Creek, Choctaw, Chickasaw and Seminole tribes.
Tribe members were allotted land in return for abolishing tribal governments and recognizing Federal laws. In order to receive the land, individual tribal members first had to apply and be deemed eligible by the Commission.
The Commission accepted applications from 1898 until 1907, with a few additional people accepted by an Act of Congress in 1914. The resulting lists of those who were accepted as eligible for land became known as the Dawes Rolls.
Why search the Dawes Rolls?
The Rolls contain over 101,000 names and can be searched to discover the enrollee’s name, sex, blood degree, and census card number. Census cards often provide additional genealogical information and can contain references to earlier rolls, such as the 1880 Cherokee census. A census card is often accompanied by an “application jacket.” The jackets can contain valuable supporting documentation such as birth and death affidavits, marriage licenses, and correspondence.
Today these five tribes continue to use the Dawes Rolls as the basis for determining tribal membership. They usually require applicants to provide proof of descent from a person who is listed on these rolls. (Contact the tribes directly for enrollment information).
How do I search the Dawes Rolls by name?
- Go to the National Archives Catalog series description for the Dawes Rolls and click on “Search within this series.”
- Remove the *:* from the search bar, replace it with the name you would like to search, and press Enter.
- Results displayed will contain the name (or elements of the name) you searched on.
- Click on a result to view that record. The name you searched may not be the primary name in the record, so make sure to view all of the pages to find the relevant information.
You can find more resources for researching Native American Heritage on archives.gov.
Interested in more topics like this? Find out what’s new in the National Archives Catalog by subscribing to our National Archives Catalog newsletter!
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has long had a special relationship with the incoming Presidential Administration, including providing archival and records management guidance and support to the White House upon request. This relationship continues throughout the Administration, until the Presidential records are transferred into the National Archives for permanent preservation in our President Library system.
The 2016 Guidance on Presidential Records is available on archives.gov. This document, which NARA has prepared for every incoming administration since 2000, provides basic background information on the Presidential Records Act (PRA) of 1978, as amended, 44 U.S.C. §§ 2201-2209; how the National Archives implements the PRA; and how we assist the White House in managing its records under the PRA.
NARA has also continued to engage with Federal agencies to inform them of their records management responsibilities under the Federal Records Act (FRA). The Office of the Chief Records Officer at the National Archives has updated its Documenting Your Public Service publication and developed other resources for agencies to ensure that records management is an integral part of agency transition plans. See the Records Express blog for more information about records management guidance for the Presidential transition.
It is important to understand the distinction between Presidential records and Federal records, which are governed by the two different laws described above:
Presidential records only apply to the President, the Vice President, their immediate staff, or a unit or individual of the Executive Office of the President whose function is to advise or assist the President, in the course of conducting activities which relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President. (For further details, please see the Presidential Records Act.)
Federal records apply to all “federal agencies” in the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches, but do not include the Supreme Court, the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the Architect of the Capitol.
The rules governing Federal and Presidential records and their preservation have not changed since the FRA and PRA were amended in 2014, but updating and sharing our guidance is one component of the support that NARA offers to both Federal agencies and the White House, especially when a new administration begins.
February is Black History Month. This month and every day, the National Archives celebrates the extraordinary contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.
The National Archives holds a wealth of material documenting the African American experience, including millions of records related to the interactions between African Americans and the Federal government. These materials are highlighted in online resources, in public programs, and throughout traditional and social media.
You don’t have to live in Washington, DC or visit one of our research rooms to be inspired by the wealth of information available at the National Archives. Visit our African American History webpage to learn more about events and activities celebrating African American History. This webpage contains photographs, historical videos, articles, links to online resources for research, public programs and events, Presidential Library resources, exhibits, and much more.
You can also browse our Catalog for more information about records and holdings documenting the African American experience. Are you interested in transcribing documents to help make these records more accessible? We’ve created an African American History transcription mission in celebration of Black History Month. Learn more and get started on our Citizen Archivist Dashboard.
Questions about conducting research at the National Archives? Visit our African American History research group on History Hub. And see our Pieces of History blog for more information and resources about the National Archives holdings related to African American History.