In a move that will have a profound and long-lasting impact on the library sector, the W3C officially chartered a new working group on Web Annotation on August 20, 2014. Stanford Libraries staff member, Rob Sanderson, will serve as the working group's inaugural co-chair.
The W3C is the standards body that guides the development of the Web, and has had a longstanding Open Annotation Community Group focused on how to annotate digital resources on the Web. As a newly chartered working group, the output of these discussions can now be channeled into official W3C recommendations, and baked into fabric of the Web itself.
As library content and services become increasingly digital, the ability to annotate it--provide commentary, analysis, reviews, transcription, description, links and more--is increasingly a concern. By helping define a standard approach to annotation (in the broadest sense) of web resources, libraries can help fulfill their traditional mission of supporting research, scholarly communication and the diffusion of knowledge in the 21st century. And by working deeply in standards efforts like those of the W3C, libraries can help ensure their technologies and services are integral to and leverage the latest information technologies, instead of competing with them or lagging behind.
Dr. Sanderson, who joined Stanford Libraries in April of 2014, brings extensive experience in annotations to the W3C and Stanford. He was one of the principal investigators of the Open Annotation Collaboration, a precursor to the W3C community group, where he also served as co-chair and a driving force. In recognition of his ongoing contributions and position within the community, Dr. Sanderson is serving as one of the co-chairs of the Working Group, which is a boon for the W3C, for Stanford, and for the future of annotation on the Web.