Hypothesis annotation notification – a feature request

3 min read

I’ve been a long time user & adopter of Hypothesis, the web annotation tool that has made steady inroads into the education space for the past few years.

There are numerous ways that you can enable Hypothesis annotations, including a WordPress plugin that can add the annotation feature you your WordPress blog, enabling visitors to your blog to annotate your content. I have it enabled on this blog and (if you are reading this post in a browser) you should see the pop-up toolbar in the top right hand corner of your screen.

I’ve used this plugin for (wow has it really been 5 years????!!?!?!). The one thing that I’ve always found lacking was the ability to get notified when someone adds an annotation to my site. It would be a great feature if I could get an email sent to me as a notification when someone annotates content on my site, as an annotation can often be a gateway into a conversations, like blog comments are. But Hypothesis doesn’t have this feature.

I was reminded of this again earlier today when I was reviewing an old post on my blog and saw that there were many Hypothesis annotations on the blog post that I was completely unaware of, including one that was pointing out an incomplete thought in one of the paragraphs I had written (pretty common for me as I often jump around from place to place when I write these posts). So, I tweeted out, wondering if there had been any progress in this area since the last time I looked a few years ago.

Which brought a response from Hypothesis

Well, it isn’t a big enough  inconvenience that I want to run a Python script every time I wanted to see the annotations on my site, so I decided to start with the RSS/Atom feed options Katelyn had pointed me to, but had not known about before. There are some useful feeds here. You can get an RSS or Atom feed for annotations made at a specific url, a specific Hypothesis tag or group, or for a specific Hypothesis user. While I can see how these default feeds could be useful, but there was still nothing in there that could alert me to annotations made on my own site.

Then Katelyn tweeted me a few seconds later.

This is more what I was looking for. Logging into Hypothesis and entering url:https://edtechfactotutm.com/* in the search bar yields me all the annotations at that domain.

Better. At least I can see all the annotations left on my site in one spot (all 5 of them :)).

I took a quick check on the search results page to see if it was RSS enabled, but unfortunately, no RSS or Atom feeds on the search results page. Too bad because if there was, then I could subscribe to the page in Feedly & see whenever there was a new annotation made on my site. Or set up an IFTTT recipe to watch the RSS feed and email me whenever there is a new annotation added to the site.

Still, the domain search is still a handy tool to be able to check occasionally to see if there have been annotations made to my site. Not a notification system. But better than nothing.


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