Several of my courses require the use of the Hypothesis annotation platform. Hypothes.is is an open source, non-profit project designed to develop an open protocol for annotation across the web. It is also specifically focused on supporting academic use. However, because it is an attempt to simulate a layer of the web that doesn't otherwise exist, the technical implementation is less than seamless. I am in touch with the Hypothesis team, and we'll be sharing the results of our experience directly with them for the benefit of future users.

First, create an account. Please use a username that can be easily correlated to your identikey or name in the campus system.

Here are some resources for getting started from the Hypothesis website:

There are two basic ways to access Hypothesis:

  • Through the Chrome extension or bookmarklet for other browsers, such as Firefox and Safari
  • By prefixing the web URL you want to annotate with via.hypothes.is/[URL]; this won't work with web pages or PDFs that are behind paywalls, password-protected sites, or located on your computer

Here are some tips that may be useful from past experience:

  • Before you come to class, for use as discussion notes, consider printing off the most recent annotations from your user page, which appears at hypothes.is when you're logged in, or hypothes.is/user/[your username].
  • Don't try to highlight PDFs that are embedded inside webpages. Open the PDF as a separate file in your browser (either from a dedicated URL or by downloading it to your computer first), and annotation should work there. More information about annotating PDFs here.
  • In Google Chrome, you may encounter an error when trying to use the Hypothesis extension on a locally-stored PDF. Click on the error indicator on the Hypothesis extension icon for instructions. In short, you'll need to go to the extension's settings and make sure “Allow access to file URLs” is selected.

While comments on others' annotations are not included in post data on the public site, they are accessible through this experimental analytics tool, which will be used for evaluation.

Our friends at CU Denver have developed CROWDLAAERS, a Hypothes.is analytics tool. Currently, however, it only includes annotations, not replies, and doesn't export.