[Bookreader] Annotations is read activity

Andreas Gros info at andreasgros.net
Fri Nov 20 13:34:09 EST 2009

dear all,

about annotations in ebooks/pdfs:

what do you think would be the best place to integrate that?

there's one option of integrating annotations into evince (option 1) and 
one option of integrating that into the read activity itself as a module 
(option 2). are there more?

as we want to exchange annotations and comments we need (for both 
options) some standard format for doing so (preferably some xml flavor). 
did you have something in mind already?

now about the options:
option 1:
- larger community support because also the gnome folks want to do 
something in this direction [1]
- possibly easier of integration of the annotations into the "work" (pdf 
or ebook)

- solution gets locked in into evince
- evince also needs to get a "give me your/take these annotation data" 
interface so that annotations can be exchanged
- one has to get into the evince development process

option 2:
- possibly easier development -- as python could be used; e.g. use 
something like a SVG python rendering engine on a "glass layer" on top 
of the actual "work" (pdf/ebook) to implement that; so that annotations 
and comments can become independent of the "work" and can be shared 
easily but maintain a spatial reference to the actual text they refer 
to; SVG could then still be integrated into the PDF in one of its 
metadata fields (needs to be tested).
-SVG could also serve as an exchange format directly

- have to implement some assurance mechanism that the annotations 
actually apply to a certain manifestation of a work as once annotations 
become rather independent from a manifestation of that work they tend to 
live a life of their own.
- text highlighting becomes rather difficult as a spatial reference to 
the line of text in the manifestation needs to be established, for which 
one would have to interface with evince again.

please feel free to send your input on this. i also would like to put 
this on some wiki or another. is there a good place for doing so? the 
last input on this one: http://wiki.laptop.org/go/Read, has been given 
some time ago.

thanks a lot!

best, andi

[1]: http://live.gnome.org/Evince/Annotations

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