ITHAKA invests in open annotation leader Hypothesis
A letter from Kevin Guthrie
I am excited to share today that we have invested $2.5 million in Anno, the public-benefit corporation that is home to Hypothesis.
As you may know, Hypothesis is a tool that enables people to annotate documents and webpages. Its free browser extension is in use by a million people globally, with a version that integrates with learning management systems now installed at 200 colleges and universities. We see tremendous potential for tools like Hypothesis that are open and interoperable to improve teaching and learning.
In addition to the investment, we are working on a pilot project with Anno to enable the use of Hypothesis with the text-based materials on JSTOR through learning management systems. As an organization with a mission to expand access to knowledge and education, ITHAKA’s investment and this collaboration will support the use and study of the materials you and we have worked so hard to produce, preserve and make accessible. I encourage you to read our public announcement as well as Anno’s blog post for more details.
As you can tell, we are excited about our relationship with Anno. Their purpose is “to build new open, interoperable infrastructure connecting the world’s people and ideas over all content on every platform using a new unit of speech—the digital annotation—to enable a world of diverse collaborative services for the benefit of humanity.” At a time when learning and understanding from our past, present, and future—and from one another—is so desperately needed, we are eager to play a role in bringing this vision to life.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more about the promise of social annotation and what we are learning through the JSTOR-Hypothesis pilot. Keep an eye out in our upcoming newsletters for a short video showing how the integration will work, including some back-end authentication magic within the learning management system that obviates the need for content to be downloaded locally, ensuring that use of those materials happens on the JSTOR platform—an approach we know is important to both publishers and librarians.
We’ll also keep you apprised of other opportunities we see to achieve our mission faster by collaborating or investing with others who share our aims. In evaluating these opportunities, we consider organizations’ values and motivations, the impact of their work, and their alignment with our goals to serve faculty and students pursuing new knowledge, including those from under-represented groups or parts of the world with fewer resources. Like our previous investments—merging with Artstor and acquiring Reveal Digital—Anno and Hypothesis meet that threshold. We will measure the return on that investment primarily by assessing its mission impact. Are more people using the resources we have worked with all of you to create and make available and are they able to teach and learn more effectively? I will be engaged with Anno through an observer seat on their board of directors so that we can learn together, consult on decisions, and influence Anno’s direction.