[Bookreader] Annotations, revisited

Sayamindu Dasgupta sayamindu at gmail.com
Wed Jan 20 17:24:10 EST 2010

On Thu, Jan 14, 2010 at 11:04 AM, Samuel Klein <meta.sj at gmail.com> wrote:
> I just chatted this afternoon with Andi Gros, who is quite interested
> in seeing annotations added to our bookreader's repertoire.  I hope we
> can make some progress there, now that we have a growing active
> audience of users, who will want more than author and title to figure
> out what texts to use for what purposes!
> Starting with something simple like "a global/local-network list of
> reviews/notes/comments organized by title" without worrying about
> different versions of works or annotations of specific words or
> sentences, could be very usable.
> Is anyone actively working on something like this atm?  I also chatted
> briefly with the founder of RatePoint, who have been following OLPC
> for some time and interested in making global reviews by 'product' or
> 'entity' happen with a simple web interface.

A major pain point is supporting annotations in a file-format
independent way. For example, currently, the PDF standard has pretty
extensive support for annotations, but that is of very little value in
Read as we try to deal with other formats as well. With EPUB, I can
have really flexible annotations, or even editable books (the
underlining support as shown in
http://sayamindu.randomink.org/images/read_highlight.gif actually
makes the EPUB editable for a while), but all of this does not make
any sense in a PDF context.

The only thing which is constant in the current avatar of Read is that
it can assume with certainty that the document will be paginated -
that's why I could add the page-bookmark+note so easily. The rest of
the features are in no way guaranteed - I may not even get text, I can
simply get a set of images one after the other).

As for indexing/storage of annotations, I have tried to keep the
options open by storing the notes and bookmarks in a single, global
sqlite database, but it can become complicated as things like editable
books are enabled.


Sayamindu Dasgupta

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