Are We Finally Ready to Annotate the Entire Internet? Professor Hanley Is

Friday, March 04, 2016
Photo of Lawrence Hanley

FAST COMPANY -- Larry Hanley, an English professor at San Francisco State University, is the kind of man who aggressively annotates his books. He believes a particularly beautiful verse of poetry deserves to be underlined; a thought-provoking line of prose requires an equally intelligent comment scribbled next to it. In his classroom, he gently nudges his students to engage with books by writing notes in the margins.

“Annotation makes the reading process visible,” Hanley says. “I encourage my students to annotate their texts to show them that the relationship between the reader and a text is a two-way conversation. It forces them to wrestle with the words on the page.” Over the last decade, however, as more of his reading has taken place on the Internet, Hanley has struggled to find an elegant way to take notes online.