Active reading via annotation is a valuable tool for any scholar. Hypothesis, stylized as, applies this notetaking skill to online readings by giving users the ability to digitally annotate across the web for free. In this DSC Guide Deep Dive, find out how Hypothesis supports digital learning while promoting active notetaking and collaborative digital annotation. 

Hypothesis is an open-source software benefitting Humanities, Social Sciences, and STEM scholars in their research and publishing needs. Users can digitally annotate HTML pages, PDFs, and EPUBS. With annotations on Hypothesis, instructors can actively guide students through the text prior to class. Similarly, scholars, journalists, and publishers alike can engage in collaborative conversation and receive input on their research via annotated peer review. Hypothesis annotations permit links and images, including GIFs, so users can do more than highlight digital text and type notes. 

Do I have to collaborate, and who can view my annotations?
You don’t have to collaborate to use Hypothesis! This platform keeps your highlights private, but annotations are public. However, Hypothesis offers private group options to limit who can see your annotations if you need privacy. You also don’t need an account to view some annotations.

See Hypothesis in action with Frankstein on Project Gutenberg! 

What do I need to know about getting started?
You can get started with Hypothesis in less than three steps! There are even best practice resources and examples for teachers and students wanting to incorporate this annotation technology in their scholarship. Hypothesis also has a Chrome extension and connects with Canvas, Blackboard, and other learning management systems for further ease of use. 

Does Hypothesis have partnerships?
The Hypothesis team partners with a variety of organizations and academic institutions, and promotes open research while researching social annotation. Similarly, the Hypothesis team created the Annotating All Knowledge coalition to
further the reach of open annotation within scholarly communities.

What else should I know about Hypothesis?
Hypothesis hosts events and I Annotate, a yearly open annotation conference. There is also Liquid Margins, an online show discussing annotation and social learning in scholarly spaces. 

That’s all for this DSC Guide Deep Dive! To learn more about Hypothesis, watch their story in their own words, and visit





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