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Web Annotation

About Lorena (Click on photo for more)

Profile Photo
Lorena O'English
Terrell Library 120-D
Washington State University

Office Hours: (Spring, 2023): Click the "Schedule Appointment" link above to set up a Zoom appointment, or email me directly via the button (which I recommend).

Useful Links


Oops. I messed this up a bit. Oh well, I'll fix it soon!

Are students really reading the web pages I direct them to?

Lorena O’English, WSU Libraries  @WSULorena

What is Web Annotation? How can it help answer the question in this workshop’s title?


Getting Started

*Chrome – Select the Chrome extension link and then add it to your browser through the Chrome Web Store

*Edge (2020 version only) – Select the Chrome extension; you will have to opt in to using non-Microsoft app stores

*Firefox – Add/drag the bookmarklet to your bookmark toolbar

Note: All browsers can use the bookmarklet


  • Once you have created your account, you will be in your Activity Page, which will look like this: Once you have logged in, you can always get back to this page by its link, or by clicking on the LOG IN link on the homepage. search results for "user: loenglish"

  • Annotations can be public (the default) or private (there is a checkbox to make annotations private).. They can also be limited to a specific group that you are a member of (see image above to see where your groups show,  and where you can create a new group).
  • Go to the web page you want to annotate, and start your annotating, highlighting, and tagging – to start, you may want to be sure to select the Post to Only Me box to make it a private post.
  • To add more web pages to your small group for annotation, go to a link of interest to you, and make sure:
    • [Chrome/Edge] your extension button is active – if it is not, click it
    • [Firefox] click on your browser bar bookmarklet to make active.
  • You should see the overlay tools at the far upper right of your screen. You can see the full overlay window by clicking on the top carat symbol:  top carat symbol. Change the permissions from the default Public to your small group Group by clicking on the down carat and selecting your small group Group:

screenshot showing an empty annotations group


  • Once you have made your first annotation or highlight it will show up in your small group Group page and others in your small group can visit it to annotate, highlight, tag, and reply. Now you can start engaging with your text and starting conversations.
  • You can also annotate in the larger workshop Group, WSU-AOIWorkshop2020.
  • Create your own private Group for later (the last option in the Group drop-down menu on your Activity Page).

Adding Media to Your Entries


Link: Adding Links, Images, and Videos to Your Annotations (note: I stole a bunch of language from this for below)



  • Copy the URL you want to annotate with
  • In the annotation box highlight the text you will link and click on the link icon
  • The Hypothesis text editor will put square brackets around the words you have selected and will add ( next it. Replace (using the Delete button and then pasting with Control-V) the with the URL you copied in Step 1, making sure to leave the parentheses. The text will look weird (not standard HTML link syntax), but when you save the annotation your link will look normal.


  • Copy the URL for your GIF, i.e. from (Note: don’t use the URL bar link; use the specified GIF link)
  • In the annotation box highlight the text you will link and click on the image button OR just click on the image button
  • Replace (by hitting the Delete button and then pasting in via Control-V) the with the GIF URL you copied, making sure to leave the parentheses. You will see your GIF when you hit post.



  • Copy the URL for your image (if it is an image on a page of other content, you can right- click (or ⌘-click for Macs) and select copy Image Location from the options to get a specific link to the image itself)
  • In the annotation box highlight the text you will link (note: it will disappear under the photo as alt-text) and click on the image button
  • Replace (by hitting the Delete button and then pasting in via Control-V) the with the image URL you copied, making sure to leave the parentheses. You will see your image when you hit post (sometimes sideways).



  • If you just want to link to it, use the link button to add in a link.
  • To embed a self-playing video, just copy a YouTube URL and paste it right into the annotation/page link/reply box. uses the Markdown markup language, so you can do more specific formatting as you learn its syntax:

     (basic functions)  (lots more)

Other Ways to Annotate with


Use the Paste A Link link at the top of the homepage to type or paste in a website address to annotate It without using a browser extension or browser bookmarklet.

Use the Via Proxy to share an annotated page with someone who does not have a Hypothesis account. (Note that users without Hypothesis accounts can read public annotations but cannot create or reply to annotations.):

If you want to embed functionality in a website:

Adding to a WordPress site:


A Few Resources


Something I wrote for my professional association, Keeping Up With…Web Annotation: FAQ: blog:


Tutorials: public roadmap:

              Note the accessibility roadmap


Introducing for Education: for Education:

              Includes resources for instructors and students


Annotating with Groups


Getting Started with Using Tags (slides)


Adding Links, Images, and Videos:


Orphan annotations: Orphan annotations - on Twitter: @Hypothes_is

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