Re: We need to start talking about group and public annotations

Brian Utterback (
Wed, 20 Jul 1994 13:41:12 +0200

I am not sure how this would work.

Maybe I am not seeing the paradigm correctly. When I think of group and
public annotations, I think of the system described in Eric Drexler's book,
The Engines of Creation. He has a chapter devoted to a free-form hypertext
system, which he believes would greatly accelerate the advance of science
by greatly accelerating the discussion of ideas.

In his paradigm, anyone could make a hypertext link at any point in any
document. This link would point you to an annotation; itself subject to being
annotated. Since all such links would have the creator's digital "signature",
you could set the browser to discount links from some people and emphasize
others. I guess you could call this a "Bozo filter".

In his view, this whole thing is a store and forward system. It depends on a
nano-tech storage system, so everyone would keep a complete copy of the Web
with them at all times. Each Web module could plug into any other and upload
and download new links to other module.

Of course, this last idea is a bit fanciful, (if not impossible? What kind of
bandwidth would be needed to download the entire Web in a few seconds?), but
everything before that sounds like the Web we Know and Love today. So, am I
missing the boat on this discussion, or am I on the right track? Exactly
how are group and public annotations being proposed to work? Do I have an
obligation to accept annotations? Do I have to accept links or actually
provide storage to annotations themselves? Perhaps there needs to be a
distinguishing characteristic to an anchor added by someone other than the
original author of a document, to alert the reader that he/she is leaving
the flow of the document and are off on commentary. Otherwose you could
find yourself forever wandering around without getting the info you want.

Brian Utterback Manager Technical Networks
Mercury Computer Systems, Inc. (508) 256-1300x168
199 Riverneck Road (508) 256-3599 FAX
Chelmsford, MA 01824 You can't grep dead trees.