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Annotation Use Case - Social Semantic Web


This document describes a set of use cases that are presented for the needs of W3C Annotation Working Group. All of the use cases are specific instances of what might be described as a social semantic web application of Web annotation tools.

Social Semantic Web

By bringing in the social into the semantic web, we can look at a semantic web from a sustainist [1] perspective that implies the qualities such as sharing, localism, connectedness and proportionality. Sharability as a design criteria to encourage Collaboration, Open exchange and Commons. Localism encourages Community, Local experiences and Rootedness. Connectedness being about Connectivity, Interdependence and Connections. And Proportionality shifting focus from scale to appropriate scale and human scale.

By bringing in the word social into the semantic web, the human element in an annotation becomes significant and necessary and the Connectedness brings the linked data like relations over the whole of Web data. Also social semantic web helps imagine a decentralized social web that is purposeful and community managed extension of the decentralised web.


Annotation can be a natural activity when reading or otherwise engaging with the content on the Web. Typically, for a document in a physical world, highlighting and sticky notes are common paradigms for marking up and associating one's own content with the work being read. Many digital solutions exist in the same space but are, however, not shareable between systems and other people who also have access to the same documents. Annotation of content on the Web is often limited by the (lack of) provisioning of annotation tools by the host of a website content. However, we imagine an independent set of services and tools that can be used to annotate the content, including the media, on the web and that these tools can naturally be part of the Browser. The annotations activity of an individual are stored either locally (and belong to the one who annotated) or in a repository of ones choosing (this is similar to people having their own blogs) which can be shared among others and for specific common interests.

This document lays out the use cases for annotations on digital publications and all web content, as (will be discussed and presented for the WG) the W3C Annotation Group. The use cases are provided as a means to drive forward the conversation about standards in this arena and to bring to focus the larger need and possibilities of the emergent usages of the Web - especially from a context where billions of low-literate users will be able to access the Web from their smart phones.


Use Cases

Social Networking - SWeeTs for getting/posting posts by/to others via your homepage of interest from your/to followers, workgroups and friends.

Web Accessibility for low-literates, through re-narration

Re-narration is akin to someone sitting by a low-literate person and narrating an appropriate rendition of the content so as to contextually communicate the information in it. Such communication, can in concept, be recorded and "played-back" to anyone who fits a similar profile. Annotation of the content is the suggested approach to provide such an alternative narrative. This (or a combination of such) can be made available to a person who can benefit from it. A Web with this provision can be called Re-narration Web.

Re-narration Web is modelled as a distributed social networking architecture for the purpose of making Web-content available for a person who is not comfortable in reading text or for a person in a foreign context. Individuals contributing to alternative narratives is the key aspect of re-narration Web. An individual can choose to provide alternative narration to any specific entity such as an image, a paragraph or subtitles for a segment of a video, etc. The idea of the re-narration Web is to provide a person visiting a Web page, a comfortable narrative of the page content based on the visitor's profile and contributions of alternative narratives made available by the community.

Idea: ; Prototype deployment: Raika BCP (click on Alipi link on top right of page) ; Current Manifestation: SWeeT Web A SWeeT is a contribution of a Web data link by a user where the contribution typically happens as an Web annotation. [2] Wiki: Alipi tools ;

Possible adaptation scenario:

Imagine that a web link is passed to a low-literate person. When the person opens the link, based on the profile of the user, the browser is able to suggest/deliver alternate user-friendly renditions of the page. This could be through a cascade of curations: Regional authorized curators > Author recommended > User subscribed > friends of the user.

Knowledge Bank for Cultural Heritage

A heritage walk, a multi-media based storytelling, an online museum, a biodiversity platform or another such need is driven by the development of a comprehensive knowledge repository for such a context. A reasonable model for developing such a repository is Wikipedia model where a number of concerned people and experts come together in evolving such a repository. However, in the "real world", it is very often the case that people cannot effectively develop and maintain such a repository. It is also the case that most people, however, have their own website, a blog or contribute to a portal of their choice which will also be better maintained as they own their content. Given this scenario, one reasonable approach to develop a collaborative repository of such comprehensive need is to annotate these distributed smaller websites by tagging the material based on an agreed upon set of tags (or an ontology developed for this need).

One such attempt in the works is the Knowledge Bank of Indian Digital Hampi [3]: Connecting the Web data related to Hampi - a heritage site. A set of Open linked data stores so as to provide a service for Heritage Web sites such as for 3d reconstruction of the site in which a user can do a virtual walk and for story telling tools.

An example tool is Restory: Visual rendition of an interpretation of a folk narrative, which can go through another interpretation, as another narrative. A "restory" of the Dasara festival is availble here:

Location Intelligence Interpretation Centers

COWLick - Community Owned Wifi-mesh based Location intelligence Interpretation of Community Knowledge

We are setting up wifi-mesh based services around the location-intelligence interpretation center that is being set-up at DD area hill. The area that this will cover will be [s approximately 5 sq km]. This will bring about awareness of locally shared content and its enormous impact of bringing together interpretations from near and far. Also this will become the laboratory for deploying research tools and to facilitate techniques such as augmented reality. We hope that this work and its absorption will stand in contrast to the classical approach of school based education that has left so many behind - as illiterates. Our approach will also bring local community to conduct workshops that help develop narratives based on their interest.

This proposal is replicable and multidimensional in its objectives and we hope that the outcome will lead to new paradigms of community managed community knowledge, and to new perspectives for both educated world and the local low-literate communities on significance of networked communities and participatory knowledge sharing processes. From 200 million educated Internet users to a potential 800 million non-literate and low-literate smart phone subscribers is going to see a significant change in the way India is going to experience schooling and learning in the future. Smart phones can make it easy to access Internet, enable localised networking and learning by sharing community knowledge in the future. One of the issues that we are likely to face is the semantic distance between such local communities and the literate and schooled. This proposal not only will help build this bridge but also help in developing location based learning methodologies which in itself is an essential need in a land of diversities.

India is bracing itself to this smartphone and tablet emergence and is planning to help provision access to Internet across the country [ ] and hopes to open up new spaces for educators, trainers, enterprises and new alternative ways of benefiting from the connectivity in the future. However, today large areas of rural and tribal India is media dark and has very low mobile connectivity. One such place is just 15 min away from the Tumkur, which is close to Bangalore, the silicon valley of India. This area, we call the DD area, is a temple town and is picturesque that it brings in almost 10,000 visitors every weekend. However, the visitors do not get to know of its rich biodiversity, agricultural practices, water management, history, heritage, culture or other religious stories and interpretations.

A location intelligence interpretation service might be the need of the day. Based on the geolocation, information that is related to a picture that one takes, posted by others, narrated by expert groups or those that are subject wise curated by special interest groups will be made available. A continuum of local contributions by people, will flow into a student workshops and narratives by special interest groups. A subject or interest filter will help navigate this large amount of contributed and available information.

Issue Tracking

to be done

SangeetKosh: An Open Web Platform for Hindustani Music Education

TODO: refine the following..

SangeetKosh is an open platform for studying North Indian or Hindustani Classical Music (HCM) on the web. This platform works on a three faceted architecture - to provide musical experiments, quizzes and drills; to host and find repositories of music; to semantically link and annotate pre- existing musical content on the web. We describe the ways in which this application caters to the cultural and social problems of music students of HCM. This application is also structured to be sensitive to local context, with easy ways to translate into local languages, and make the platform accessible to a larger demographic.

Twitter Annotator

Twitter Annotator is a work-in-progress. We aim to build a browser extension which will enable users to indicate relatively important aspects of a tweet such as persons, locations and the type of the main action described. These labelings will eventually develop into a summary of events for other users which were looking at Twitter in the same context.


[1] Sustainist Design Guide - Michiel Schwarz and Diana Krabbendam

[2] Robert Sanderson: My view on annotation in general is a user-writable layer over top of the web: if resources accepting content from consumers is Web 2.0, then the next iteration is surely to make the web infrastructure accept content from consumers.

[3] The Knowledge Bank of IDH-Hampi; Vijay Chandru, International Institute for Art, Culture and Democracy, Bangalore.