NISO E-book Annotation Sharing Workshops Identify Need for Cross-Platform Interoperability and Standardization

Baltimore, MD - April 16, 2012 - The National Information Standards Organization has published the final report on the Standards Development Workshops on E-Book Annotation Sharing and Social Reading, a project funded by a $48,500 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The goal of this project was to organize two meetings to discuss the current state of annotation of digital books and sharing those annotations on a variety of platforms. The first of the two meetings was held in Frankfurt, Germany, prior to the start of the Frankfurt Book Fair, and the second was held in San Francisco, California, prior to the start of the Books In Browsers Meeting hosted by the Internet Archive. Both meetings were held in October 2011 on the 10th and 26th respectively. Among the outcomes for the meetings was an increased awareness of the need for a standard for locating reference points in digital texts as well as a structure for sharing those annotations across reading systems. The most significant outcome of this initiative is the launch of a new standards working group within NISO to formulate the syntax for locating an annotation reference point and a structure for sharing annotations between diverse reading systems.
"The meetings were tremendously successful in terms of advancing the conversations about community needs for annotation," states Todd Carpenter, NISO Managing Director. "While there has been some significant work on the annotation of digital texts, particularly by the Open Annotation Collaboration (OAC) and the Annotation Ontology project, neither of these initiatives has succeeded in building deep awareness among the publishing or systems supplier communities. As a result of this workshop, there is a much greater awareness, especially in the publishing industry, of the need for e-book annotation standards."

"The conversation in Frankfurt focused more on the policy, goals, and business issues surrounding e book annotation," explains Nettie Lagace, NISO Associate Director of Programs. "The meeting in San Francisco focused more concretely on the technical infrastructure and syntax needs of a standard for annotation systems. Many of the workshop participants will be members of the new NISO working group that has been formed to develop the annotation standard."

The narrative of the final grant report to the Mellon Foundation, including minutes of each workshop, is available from the NISO website at:

About the National Information Standards Organization (NISO)
NISO fosters the development and maintenance of standards that facilitate the creation, persistent management, and effective interchange of information so that it can be trusted for use in research and learning. To fulfill this mission, NISO engages libraries, publishers, information aggregators, and other organizations that support learning, research, and scholarship through the creation, organization, management, and curation of knowledge. NISO works with intersecting communities of interest and across the entire lifecycle of an information standard. NISO is a not-for-profit association accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). More information about NISO is available on its website: