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A Document-Centric Semantic Annotation Environment to Support Sense-Making

Prototype Internet infrastructures for scholarly publishing are offering powerful new services over the interconnected ideas and arguments in a literature. However, such services depend on documents being semantically annotated with readers' interpretations, which up until now has been a manual process due to the complexity of such analysis. This thesis investigates the challenge of designing computer-support for document annotation in the context of potentially diverse, contested views about a text's significance, as typifies scholarly research.

An interaction design approach is followed to progressively understand the dialogue between the end-users and an appropriate annotation environment. A preliminary analysis of the annotators' goals if followed by an experiment to identify the activities performed in this sense-making task, and a desk research phase, in which approaches to support each of these activities are identified.

An active document annotation environment (ClaimSpotter) is then presented. It is built on an open and extensible architecture, which can incorporate new text analysis components as required to overlay annotations onto the original text to draw attention to sections, which may be particularly significant. Facilities to filter and navigate the document in novel ways, to record annotations or reuse existing ones, and to provide pointers to related documents and annotations based on connections mediated by semantic annotations are offered.

The tool is finally evaluated in an experimental setting, resulting in a dataset which supported quantitative and qualitative analysis of the end-users' products and process. The analysis characterises how the semantic annotation scheme is used by novices and experts, and how the user interface's rendering of system and end-user annotations shapes interaction. The thesis assesses critically the strengths and weaknesses of the work, providing justification for further cycles of the approach, and concluding with research questions meriting further investigation.


Sereno, B. (2006). A Document-Centric Semantic Annotation Environment to Support Sense-Making. Unpublished Doctoral Thesis, Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK . Submitted May 2005, Approved July 2006 []

ID: KMI-06-13

Date: 2006

Author(s): Bertrand Sereno

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